Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Homesteading Movement

Something I have been sorta studying about the “homestead movement” is its historical relevancy to the Industrial Revolution.

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolu%C3%A7%C3%A3o_Industrial
Click for a link to the picture
The Industrial Revolution changed our view of the economy and social life, especially taking root around the mid-19th Century and coinciding with the explosive growth of urban living, as we specialized our work skills to suit the new economy. No longer were people “just farmers” who knew how to do a bit of everything, like simple blacksmithing – instead we left the farm and specialized our skills – by becoming say an accountant, while leaving other tasks to other specialists. We now think this is normal, but for most of the history of our civilization, this was not the case.

http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Fritz-Von-Uhde/Dutch-Seamstresses,-Or-Sisters-In-The-Sewing-Room.html
Click for link to pic
Before the Industrial Revolution, the home was the major place of economic production for the vast majority of people. The father was in the field with the sons producing crops while the mother was in the house with the daughters churning butter, preparing food and sewing their own clothes. A seamstress would come to the house once or twice a year, and would help to make clothes for the whole family for the next year – they didn’t go to town and “buy” them, but rather “produced” them themselves, right from the home.

In other words, before the Industrial Revolution, the home was the major place of economic production, rather than the marketplace in the town or village. We abandoned this system with the growth of industry that occurred over the past 200 years, and flocked to the city where everyone is a specialist in something.

Today, however, industry is abandoning the people in favour of cheap foreign workers, or for robots replacing human labour.

It seems to me that the “smart money” would abandon the specialized marketplace and return to making the home a place of economic production as much as possible. It’s a philosophical change as much as physical way of doing things. Not only that, but everything you produce yourself can be “value added” because it removes taxes and other expenses. What I mean is, if I grow $100 worth of vegetables in my garden, I have actually created around $150 worth of “labour value,” because I didn’t have to pay tax on earning the money I use to spend in the marketplace – I would have had to earn $150 in the marketplace, then pay $50 in tax to the government, in order to have $100 for groceries. Thus, the $100 worth of groceries is actually worth $150 in labour. Everything you produce yourself is “removed” from the system, and worth around 50% more than the actual dollar value it represents.

Heh, anyway, I see the homesteading movement as a significant social change taking place. It is responding to a marketplace turned hostile to the average person, and people are returning more to the economic system that was universal before the Industrial Revolution.

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