Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rickshaw Ban: It Seemed Like Such a Nice Idea

About two years ago, Richshaws were banned in at least parts of India. Human-pulled ones, anyway.

This high-minded move was intended to end an inhumane and demeaning job. It also put a lot of rickshaw pullers out of business. Not to worry, though, they were going to be "rehabilitated." ("Rickshaws, ban highlight India's contradictions" (Chicago Tribune (October 18, 2008))

I've gathered that at least some of the foot-powered rickshaws were used by men who couldn't afford a motorized rickshaw.

The guys who have been "rehabilitated" in India were entrepreneurs, providing a service with resources they could get. Okay: pulling a rickshaw isn't as glamorous as being a high-power corporate lawyer. But, it's a way of making money.

By now, quite a few of those entrepreneurs are probably nice, safe, inoffensive employees - and not likely to rock the economic or social boat.

I ran into this while researching a post for another blog: "Bad Day in Guwahati (or Gauhati): Bombs, Fires, and Dead People " Another War-on-Terror Blog (October 30, 2008).

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