Is it Work or Play?

We talk often about cooking local food, making things ourselves, fixing things instead of buying new. Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Freakonomics, ask an interesting question in the New York Times- is it work or play?

Isn't it puzzling that so many Americans are spending so much of their time and money performing menial labors when they don't have to? Just as the radio and phonograph proved to be powerful substitutes for the piano, the forces of technology and capitalism have greatly eased the burden of feeding and clothing ourselves. So what's with all the knitting, gardening and "cooking for fun"? Why do some forms of menial labor survive as hobbies while others have been killed off?

Dubner and Levitt continue: An evolutionary biologist might say that embedded in our genes is a drive to feed and clothe ourselves and tame our surroundings. An economist, meanwhile, might argue that we respond to incentives that go well beyond the financial; and that, mercifully, we are left free to choose which tasks we want to do ourselves."

Treehugger might suggest that they look more carefully at their statement " the forces of technology and capitalism have greatly eased the burden of feeding and clothing ourselves." -Perhaps the cost of this in resources other than cash is getting too high.

::New York Times

Tags: Economics

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows