What can ya do?
April 23, 2012 11:17 AM Subscribe
I'm seeking information about relative skill levels in pre-industrial and industrial societies.
posted by crazylegs to technology (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm working on an article about the misapprehensions that underlie the concept of "the simple life". As part of my research, I'm looking for books and articles that talk about the skills that were used by the average person in other times and places.
For example, hunter-gatherers' need to be able to identify many plants, the habits of animals, etc.
Another example, nineteenth century homesteaders' ability to tan hides, grow food, fix wagons, make horseshoes, or whatever.
My premise is that life in an industrial society is actually "simpler", because you can basically survive if you have just one skill that can make you money, and know how to push buttons.
I don't want to just write about my preconceptions, though, as they might be wrong. I'm sure there is a lot out there on this subject. Also, probably more uncommon: writings about the lack of eclectic skills amongst industrialized people in the 21st century.