Brown Stuff

William S. Lear rael at
Wed Aug 11 10:35:17 PDT 1999

On Wednesday, August 11, 1999 at 17:08:03 (BST) Joe Kaplinsky writes:
>>I think you are missing the fundamental point. When you substitute
>>capital for onerous labor, your point is quite reasonable. When you
>>substitute it for fulfilling work, you lose something, and you must
>>begin to ask much more complex questions. The goal seems to me to be
>>to attempt to convert farming, much of it anyway, to more fulfilling
>>work. Perhaps this is not possible, of course, but that is another
>This isn't a question of technology one way or the other.
>Many people who enjoy mowing the lawn or working in the
>garden to relax would find the same activity under taken
>as wage labour far more onerous.

That is why wage slavery should be abolished.

>Could you be a little more specific about the "something" which
>is lost? Surely the "something" is not down to the technology.

By "fulfilling work", I mean work undertaken not under conditions of alienation, not simply changing the technology of farming to allow for more gardening-like activities as opposed to stoop labor or blind mechanical operation (though that is an admirable goal in itself).

Suppose you tailor farm work in an orchard so that the workers are highly educated about the various trees on which they work, and develop their own technologies for picking fruit, for deterring pests, etc., and that they do this in cooperation with workers on other farms. My guess is that the farm work that was thus developed would be far more satisfying than blind operation of machines, and I might even guess that it could be more "productive" per acre, long-term, as one might guess that work under profit-maximizing conditions is fairly constrained to short-term goals.


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