Friday, February 03, 2006

The Wonderful World of Farming

In my English class we are learning about the Romantic poets. Of course this involves discussing the history and people moving off the land. My teacher was bemoaning this and how it was so much better working on the farm as a farmhand. This is because there was less crime (not true murder rates have gone down tremendously since the 1700's) and you didn't have to worry about losing your job (also strange since a bad farming year wiped you out). Of course they had to leave to work in the terrible factories. Here my teacher makes a mistake fundamental to people who don't understand economics. He credits minimum wage laws and unions with helping the workers overall. The fact is that unions are pointless in the unskilled labor which went on in the factories. People were desparate to work there and the law didn't protect them from ununionized workers (the law was twisted against unions but without favoritism towards them they would have failed.) Also the bad conditions were not just a way of saving money by the owners there was no real way they could have had factory safety with the technology then. The most disturbing part though is how negative the Yeshiva education is about present society. The teacher asked the class whether today's society was better than the 1700's and only 2 people in the class said it was better. The people were me and a kid who just came from public school.

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