When Stalin Killed the Weekend (with The Happiness Lab)

Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

22-12-2023 • 36 mins

What if you could never have the same day off as your family and friends? Would you quit your job? What if it was the murderous dictator Joseph Stalin giving you the order?

The Soviet Union wanted its factories to run every day, all year long. And so, in 1929, Stalin killed the weekend: workers were prevented from all taking the same day off at the same time.

In this crossover episode of Cautionary Tales and The Happiness Lab, Tim Harford and Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos tell the story of Stalin's curious, calendar-reshaping experiment. They explore what it can teach us about time off even today, and why the holidays matter so very much.

For a full list of sources, visit timharford.com.

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