Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

How we can tell that the industrial revolution did indeed improve the condition of the workers.

15 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. Didn’t it enable such things as the mass making of the repeater rifle and the gatlmg gun.
    Peacemakers are they not

  2. John: Both of which very effectively reduced the supply of labour and thus the bargaining power of the surviving workers.

  3. One thing you can absolutely guarantee is that those who dream of the bucolic idyll have never done a days farmwork in their lives. Even on a modern mechanised farm, it is still hard work.

    The grinding drudgery of doing everything by musclepower is beyond their imaginations. Up before dawn to feed and water the animals and milk the cows. Walking behind the plough with kilos of mud built up on each boot. Freezing in the rain, baking in the sun etc. etc. Then more feeding, watering and milking before falling exhausted in to bed soon after dark.

  4. Sorry to labour the point, but a while ago there was a troll at Bishop Hill calling himself “Scottish renewables”, who was wittering on about “low energy farming”. Larf, I haven’t larfed so much since grannie got her tits caught in the mangle. No-one with any experience of farming would call it low energy unless their experience was limited to strolling around the estate with a gun and a dog, while the workers toiled.

  5. Even on a modern mechanised farm, it is still hard work.

    I can second that. Even the maintenance of the machinery falls not far short of a full-time job in itself. And I doubt it is the enormous, fully-mechanised farms which they have in mind for us anyway.

  6. _Think it through: one source tells us that villeins had 70 days a year holiday. Seriously? An animal keeping peasant has 70 days off a year?_

    Yeah. Heard that one before. Does no-one stop to think holiday is holy day. Saints days. There a damn lot more saints days in the Calender than 70. They’re all saints days apart from the big ones like Xmas & Ascension. But in mediaeval times it’s very regional which ones are a big deal. Caen might make a big fuss of the patron saint of lacemakers. Toledo never heard of her.
    Anyway, as Tim says, it’s not a day off with pay. Just means there’s a whole load of church requirements to be done on top of the usual stuff.

  7. Oh & we’ve got a place anyone can go do mediaeval style farming if they fancy. No leccy, no piped water, no roads. Till the soil & feed the hens stuff. Any takers?

  8. Its fairly easy to calculate the number of hours that a peasant had to work in a year to pay for the roof over their heads, clothes and food, to a first order approximation:

    Calculate the hours of daylight and add one hour to cover dusk and dawn. Subtract 1 hour a day to cover eating and deduct, say, 2 hours per week for church.

  9. BIS’s #7 arrived while I was writing my post so subtract another 2 hours for each of those holy days.

  10. It’s easy to tell that the industrial revolution improved the lot of the working poor by the extent to which modern comfortable middle-class ‘white collar’ leftist romantics insist that we need to return to the days before it 🙂

    Oh, I’m in a cynical mood today.

  11. And while I’m on a roll, here’s another question for Tim to ask the ex-peasant in the Guangzhou omnibus. Do you prefer working in a heated factory or freezing in an unheated home every winter?

    Point being, in eastern Asia, the prevailing winds are from the north west, outflowing from the static Siberian high pressure system. In short, much of China is fucking cold in winter. I can fully understand a preference for a heated workspace and dorm rather than keeping warm by carrying 20kg sacks of rice off the mountain.

    I guess it’s too much of an ask for greenleftards to do without central heating and put themselves through a winter keeping warm by burning straw and sticks collected from up the mountain.

  12. @ SimonF
    Sorry. You’ve got that the wrong way round. You add hours for observed saints days. The total amount of work needing doing doesn’t decrease. Doing the church thing is an added chore.

  13. The peasants in the past did have a lot of days of not really working. But not holidays. They would work bloody hard doing the harvest and then have lots of days pottering about. But they always had to feed the animals, weed the fields, go to the market. But then they only had to feed themselves either directly or through trade, and so they would do that and no more. And their free time wasn’t a walk in the park either, what with no light, TV, games machines, etc. 🙂

  14. @SBML
    “The peasants in the past did have a lot of days of not really working.”
    Think you’d me more than sad & mad, if you ever tried the life. You’d be amazed at how much effort goes into even baking a few loaves of bread. Even if you start with ground flour. It begins with the 2 or 3 miles of hauling wood to fuel the oven, because there’s no truck going to tip 10 tons of sawn logs conveniently in the yard every time you need them.
    The peasant life has to be the most gloriously inefficient use of human endeavour it’s possible to come up with. Even more so than writing Guardian columns..

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