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Crawford is touching the subject in http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Class-Soulcraft-Inquiry-Value/dp/...

I enjoyed reading that book and it relates to the topic.

I remember reading that 'industrial arts' were trashed in favour of computers and to prepare for the coming of the 'information era'.

I also came to post a link to that book. I thought it was along the same lines as the OA, but at times I found Crawford bordering on being a Luddite (the remark about bathroom sink sensors IIRC). How'd you feel about it?

(I don't remember the bathroom sink sensors.)

He didn't strike me as a Luddite. I think that's because he spends a lot of pages glorifying manual labor for its spiritual and liberating side rather than mourning the jobs destroyed by assembly lines for economic reasons.

I don't think he is as much a luddite as he is against mindless and seemingly pointless "work". Unfortunately he is walking that thin line along the whole book. He is not against the industrialization of the world or "the machines" although he does states that those events broke men.

In the book, he complains more that skilled artisan were chained to assembly lines while Luddites were replaced by assembly lines. Again, it's a thin line.

Assembly factory workers and data entry monkeys are one and the same for him.

I think his main practical argument against white collar job is pretty weak because he takes it from his personal life and he was a qualified mechanic, not a skill-less minion. So he colors much of the "manual" experience. He is a mechanic, a masculine glorified profession (insert coke adv.), working alone for hours (and for himself) on something deeply engaging and getting some kind of meditating and enlightening and relaxing experience... he's not a wielder working on some tubes along the road with a chief supervising his every actions on the job. Also he's deep into philosophy so I hardly buy it he has the same experience as regular mechanic trained since his teens as an apprentice and whose definition of culture is the latest blockbuster. He isn't one of the typical manual worker he describes in the book.

I wish he had shared his thoughts on software engineering and how it compares with 'code monkeys' and data entry clerks.

What bothers me most is that he didn't expand much outside of the "life of a mechanic" and life of a "mindless encoding drone in the publishing industry". The essay falls short on that.

Personally I read that book at a time of my life when I was fed up with webdesign/webdev and wanted to do something more real. I'm in the process of retraining myself to get a bachelor in industrial and electronic computer science and I am more than happy to deal with real wires and boards and huge factory machines now. I will revisit the book in the future.

To make it short: I believe that industrialization is good because it frees men from mind-numbing jobs, not because it saves money. And that's certainly a naive white-collar opinion :(

I am not sure I was really coherent, I'll clarify if I can and if needed.

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