Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shop Class as Soulcraft

There have been many gushing reviews of Matthew Crawford's new book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (see, e.g., here or here), a book that I'm sure I'll enjoy, given how much I liked the author's original New Atlantis article when it came out in 2006.

And yet . . . my own grandfather was a farmer, and he most certainly didn't have the same attitude towards manual labor vs. office work. In fact, he always used to tell me, "Get an education so that you can work indoors." And Tom Smith has some good points in his post titled "Manual work as sucking very much."

Perhaps everyone is prone to the "grass is greener" phenomenon? Those who spend a lifetime sweating in the sun look with envy on people who get to work sitting down in the cool, while those who work in cubicles look with envy on people who actually get to make or do something that seems more tangible and real.

Alternatively, perhaps there is widespread misallocation of human capital. By accident of birth or circumstances, there are many people who end up in blue-collar jobs who would have been much happier in an office job; and conversely there are many people who, by accident of birth or circumstances, find themselves slaving away in an investment bank or consulting firm, but who would have been much happier as a landscaper or plumber.


Blogger Janis Gore said...

Mr. Buck, you're cutting it too broadly.

There's a far distance between the farmer who is at the mercy of weather, insects, disease, and markets, and the motorcycle mechanic.

And another distance between that mechanic and the parking lot cleaner.

1:20 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home