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Insane blog comment of the day

Re: As for construction many of the old types of work are now done by machines.This did not matter while the economy was expanding.But now that we are in a recession it is much harder for someone to get a job digging dirt since machinary does so much of it nowdays.The days when we all lined up in grading crews with racks and pickaxes is long gone in most of America .

Precisely, Pete. Just another example of how modern late-capitalist society and its penchant for substituting machines for men, warps human nature and human relations. Man was made to work, and by getting rid of human labor, our late-capitalist civilisation has deformed the meaning of what it is to be human.

The day will come when late-capitalist American society falls, and we will return to a simpler age when we construct buildings and ditches with less machines and more labor, and we will all be better off for it. Even Mr. Yglesias.

\”Man was made to work\”?

24 thoughts on “Insane blog comment of the day”

  1. Obviously written by a doof who has never done a full day’s hard manual labour in his life.

    It is terrifying that such folk have votes.

  2. Well, that description applies well to the private sector. In the public sector, and some utilities, a machine is doing the digging, grading, whatever, but pretty much the same number of workers (not all “Men” now) are gathered around the site making sure that various shovels and rakes (“racks”?) don’t fall to the ground.

  3. Fairly common view among hardcore Protestants, isn’t it?

    I’ve been arguing for some time that that’s what the “progressive” socialism of the anglosphere basically is. It got tangled up with marxism for a while, but once communism became unfashionable, all they were left with was the protestant moralism- hence environmentalist self-denial, the resurgent temperance movement, “hard working families”, the obsession with creating jobs rather than production etc etc.

    All work and no play makes Jack a good boy.

  4. Perhaps we should call this Estenomics, after the blues singer Sleepy John Estes, whose advice in 1941 was:

    Now, you oughta cut off so many trucks and tractors, white folks you oughta work more mules and men (x2)
    Then you know that would make money get thick again.

    (‘Working Man Blues’, Bluebird B8950)

  5. No, the work ethic is totally fucking awful. Why? Because it emphasises work, not production. A good ethic would emphasise production for the least work.

    It’s the horrid work ethic that has politicians saying they’ll create “employment”. It deludes people into thinking jobs are all as worthwhile as one another, and people who work hard should get paid more regardless of what they’re doing- even if they’re one of the millions of state employees subtracting value from the economy.

    The work ethic just tells people to toil, and be damned what they’re toiling at. Toil is rubbish. The natural human behaviour is to avoid toil; to get as much as one can for the least effort. That’s the ethic to promote, not this crap about work being a good in itself. It isn’t.

  6. That’s the problem with these Christianists, they’re everywhere.

    Genesis 3:19
    “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

  7. Ian B, what you describe is horrid, but that is not what I recognise as the Protestant work ethic, which is about being productive and responsible, and fits naturally with capitalism and free markets.

    The natural human behaviour is to avoid toil; to get as much as one can for the least effort. That’s the ethic to promote

    Promote efficiency, yes of course. Promote rent-seeking and welfare dependency, no.

  8. “Ian B, what you describe is horrid, but that is not what I recognise as the Protestant work ethic”

    Indeed, although going to France soon puts one in the “protestant work ethic camp”.

  9. ‘it is much harder for someone to get a job digging dirt since machinary does so much of it nowdays.”

    So less labour is wasted digging dirt, which can be accomplished that much more efficiently these days.

    What about the dirt digging equipment? The workers who extract the iron ore to make the steel for the chassis, the engineers who design build and test the things, and the thousands who are involved directly and indirectly in making the components, marketing and selling the equipment. These are all jobs which wouldn’t have existed, had man stuck to digging shit up by hand.

  10. Why do folk with this kind of aspiration stay in the west, when the world is full of places where they would have to put their ideas into practice?

  11. What a bufoon. Automation rose and expanded more quickly when wages and government mandates rose and expanded more quickly.

    Why else would one automate? Go somewhere where construction labour is at the lowest cost possible and essencially worthless (like India), and you will find no automation because it isn’t cost effective.

  12. ‘Why else would one automate?’

    Archimedes created a design for a steam engine. The Romans took so many slaves that automating was not worthwhile. Of course, those slaves were doing the jobs the Romans couldn’t or wouldn’t do.

  13. Well if there’s really a body of people (or even one body) who thinks their life would be improved by more manual labour please refer them to me- trust me I can help. Of course I couldn’t pay them- the work I have in mind isn’t worth paying minimum wage for, and it would be illegal to pay them what it is worth.

  14. Here’s a great idea. Instead of shovels, how about using spoons? Think of all the currently unemployed people who could have jobs digging ditches with spoons. The mind reels…

  15. Not sure why. Maybe you’ll be able to help me out on this one. But reading ‘man was made to work’, above, made me think of a small phrase that I read earlier today.

    Arbeit macht frei…

    No idea why it came into my head, really…

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