Peasants are happier!

Be very careful of this finding that the peasantry are happier than the rest of us.

Results from the Government’s first ever survey of National Well Being, published by the Office for National Statistics, are likely to show that people who work in farming, forestry and fishing are happier than others.

For we will undoubtedly have those along the CarolineLucasGreenpeaceFoEGreensnef axis telling us that since the peasantry are happier thus we should all go be peasants.

Which is total codswallop of course.

What has been found is that our society has managed the division and specialisation of labour properly. wages in those fields are generally low but life satisfaction is high. Just as Adam Smith pointed out, wages will, when you consider everything, generally be the same everywhere.

Further, the people who enjoy standing up to their clavicles in shit and mud are the people doing so.

It does not follow that forcing others into the same peasant lifestyle will make them happy.

Although, I guarantee you, this is what we\’ll be told. Just as nef made the absurd and similar claim a few years back. People who like being frugal are happy being frugal. This is true: nef went on to insist that therefore if we forced everyone to be frugal all would be happier.

No, that just doesn\’t follow. Just as it doesn\’t follow that if the 2% of the country on the land are happy we\’ll make the country happier if we force another 10 or 20% onto the land.

11 thoughts on “Peasants are happier!”

  1. Isn’t it the case that you measure happiness when you have fuck all else worthwhile to measure?

  2. Your reference to Smith is apt. Here’s what he said:
    “Hunting and fishing, the most important employments of mankind in the rude state of society, become in its advanced state their most agreeable amusements, and they pursue for pleasure what they once followed from necessity. In the advanced state of society, therefore, they are all very poor people who follow as a trade, what other people pursue as a pastime.”
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN4.html#B.I,%20Ch.10,%20Of%20Wages%20and%20Profit%20in%20the%20Different%20Employments%20of%20Labour%20and%20Stock

  3. How odd. And the high suicide rate of farmers is because ?

    Perhaps they just interviewed some retired bankers with hobby farms or Marie Antoinette.

  4. @ Chris
    “.. therefore, they are all very poor people who follow as a trade, what other people pursue as a pastime.”

    You mean like rock stars, footballers, actors, MP’s, that sort of person?

  5. @ GOM – Smith said actors would be well paid to compensate them for the discredit of being in a profession that was “a sort of public prostitution.” I guess the same applies to MPs and rock stars. Footballers might be a different matter, being demanders rather than suppliers of sorts of prostitution.

  6. Dennis The Peasant

    They sure as shit didn’t ask me.

    I’m not all that happy out here toiling in the fields, steaming clods of earth under my feet and dried cow dung under my fingernails…

    Tofu ranching is hard work.

    Probably should have been an accountant or something.

  7. Bloke in France – does the suicide rate among agricultural workers have anything to do with higher shot gun ownership? (My evidence being one conversation with a farmer running through his friends’ successful and unsuccessful suicide attempts, all with shotguns.)

  8. The friends and relatives who visit us in the countryside always enjoy the experience…for a week or so that is. I suspect they are always pleased to return to ‘civilisation’. Like most situations in life, peasantry can be something of an acquired taste.

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