Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shop Class As Soulcraft: Critiquing Crawford

Crawford's critique of the modern working world is quite good, in my view. Unfortunately, I think that Crawford begins to stumble when he moves from critique to prescription, which at the risk of some oversimplification boils down to “big is bad, small is beautiful.” He calls for a widespread return to localized, face-to-face economic exchanges through more small entrepreneurship, a vision based in part on an overly romanticized concept of the good old days and of manual labor generally that’s probably not possible for many people to pursue.

Before I detail some of specific criticisms on this point, I'd like to pose a few questions:

1) Why do you think that the interest in manual labor that seems to have gripped the reading public is occurring now?

2) Do you think it's possible or desirable for more people to go into business for themselves as a way of avoiding the ills of modern white-collar life?

3) What about labor unions and other worker organizations? How could they help to address some of the issues Crawford addresses in his book?

4) What might citizens organize for politically in order to make work better?

1 comment:

Lee Love said...

1). A large % of human beings have an inborn need to use their hands.

2.) Yes, I see it happening. As jobs are shipped overseas, folks are looking for work other than the service industry, to support themselves.

3.)Yes, labor unions, guilds, trade unions are all necessary.

4.) Stop subsidizing petrochemicals. Making them pay their own way. A carbon tax on all imports, covering the carbon needed to make them and the carbon cost of shipping them from overseas.