Sunday, March 09, 2014

Men working

The monthly employment report came out Friday. 175,000 jobs created (unless they adjust the numbers which they almost always do) and 6.7 percent unemployment. Not terrible, but not good.

Somehow, I don't think these men are counted as "working" by the statisticians.

This activity sure looks arduous to me.

Once upon a time, this might have been "work," according to an excerpt from The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule Our World.

Until the nineteenth century, the concept of unemployment was alien. Most people didn’t earn a wage; they did not have “jobs.” They farmed, or traded, or served, or fought. Some were artisans or blacksmiths or stevedores, but most worked the land to nurse food out of stubborn soil. Factories were small, with a few dozen workers. There were mines here and there, and, of course, servants. But there was no framework of employment versus unemployment, only of want versus plenty, hard work versus idleness, good times versus bad.

... In the United States, the birth of economic statistics was part of an overall movement toward social and political reform. The drive to create these statistics was fueled in part by a rising national suspicion that large companies, monopolies, railroads, and banks were reaping disproportionate rewards and thereby robbing the common man of his hard-earned gains. ...

That meaning is still implicit in the statistics that frame our lives.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

An interesting perspective.I would say that a good deal of the work in this world is still unpaid,especially housework and child care.

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