Regarding Michelle Obama’s veg. garden, the Slow Food movement, Michael Pollan’s tribute to small farms, etc.: “These ideas have crept forward toward the mainstream in the wake of the economic collapse which inspired calls for a return to real work — a return in other words to activities more tangible (and, it was hoped, less perilous) than complex swaps of abstract financial products.…”
-From a book review by Kelefa Sanneh, of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, by Mathew B. Crawford (Penguin), in the 6/22/09 New Yorker.
Boy, is it good to hear this stuff. “…an ode to old-fashioned hard work, and an argument that localism can help cure our spiritual and economic woes.…”
I quit my job as an insurance broker 44 years ago to work as a carpenter. I liked hanging out with builders, rather than business guys, and it felt good to drive around in a pickup truck and not be wearing a tie. I reveled in the smell in lumber yards, and the feeling of accomplishment. I felt there was something more direct and useful about building, than accumulating a fortune in the business world (which I was on my way to), so this article resonated. “Crawford’s book arrives just as a vague sense of dissatisfaction with the demands and rewards of the modern economy is coalescing into something like a movement.”
In the process I built my own house; I’ve never had a bank mortgage, and this has given me a huge amount of freedom. And hey, you can still use your own hands to build a house.