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Work in Non-Industrial Societies. Volti Chapter 8. Majority of people’s lives is spent working Technology has greatly changed the way we work It has lightened our load. Working with the Earliest Tools . Earliest man (Homo habilis) used simple tools

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Majority of people’s lives is spent working
  • Technology has greatly changed the way we work
  • It has lightened our load
working with the earliest tools
Working with the Earliest Tools
  • Earliest man (Homo habilis) used simple tools
  • Early tools have crude appearance but are not primitive in use
  • Early tools called primitive because they were used by one person for a few tasks
  • Early societies --> division of labor very limited
  • Workers in "Primitive" societies did not lack technical ability
  • Although work process is simple, worker may be highly dexterous and ingenious
  • "Stone Age" technology very important breakthrough --> the idea of making stone chipping tool is hardly obvious
work and leisure in technologically primitive societies
Work and Leisure in Technologically Primitive Societies
  • Primitive people - life of work and toil may not be the whole picture
  • !Kung Bushmen (Present day-Kalahari Desert- S. Africa) give insight into primitive man
  • !Kung live in harsh, difficult environment
  • But !Kung not etching out a meager existence, as one would suspect
  • Adults work 12-19 hours each week to maintain their lifestyle
  • Remainder time --> hanging out with friends and family
  • One commentator: "The !Kung are the original affluent society"
  • Affluence not equal to Abundance --> !Kung have very little material stuff
  • !Kung illustrate the principle:

"The amount of work per capita increases with the evolution of culture, and the amount of leisure per capita decreases"

work and leisure in technologically primitive societies1
Work and Leisure in Technologically Primitive Societies

"A technologically dynamic society generates labor-saving devices, but at the same time it produces a steady stream of new goods that are eagerly sought after....As workers in a a technologically advanced society, we often find ourselves on a treadmill, working long and hard to obtain the material goods that we scarcely have time to enjoy"

work and the development of agriculture
Work and the Development of Agriculture
  • Hunting and gathering dominant mode of existence throughout human history
  • Why did humans take up farming
  • Some say changes in climate
  • Others argue - climate did not radically change when farming emerged
  • Whatever the cause - ability of people to produce food grew rapidly
  • Development of agriculture allowed for greater population densities
  • Workload of individual increase
farming techniques and patterns of work
Farming Techniques and Patterns of Work
  • Connection between technology, population expansion, and increased work best demonstrated through farming technology
  • Foraging - Hunting and Gathering societies
  • Slash and Burn- (earliest farming technology) cut down vegetation and burn it on the spot
  • Clears land & puts nutrients in the soil
  • After harvest land is abandoned up to 20 years --> land replenishes itself
    • More destructive than foraging but less destructive than some other practices
  • This practice supports more people than foraging 150 people/sq. mi.
  • Annual labor requirement - 500-1000 hours - 9-19 hrs/wk equal to !Kung
  • Cannot support large populations
  • Sedentary farming - (Irrigation) supports larger populations - more destructive
  • Settled farming - people can remain in one place - communities emerge
  • Paradox - as land becomes more productive, people have to work harder
  • 2X the labor is required for this method
the ironies of progress
The Ironies of Progress
  • Is an "advanced" society truly advanced?
  • "Advance" needs to be considered within a number of qualifications
  • Time - does technology save time or is it time consuming?
  • Skill - technology may not mean the individual is more skilled
  • Foragers have just as much "skill" as modern man
  • One thing is certain - the development of agricultural technology increased the human workload
artisans and craft work
Artisans and Craft Work
  • Settled Farming - communities emerge - many of the institutions of today are a result of this shift in farming
  • Religious institutions
  • Political institutions
  • Division of Labor
market emerges
Market Emerges
  • When goods are no longer made for one another but for a market - work is no longer embedded in social relationships
  • "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but form their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities, but of their own advantages“ (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations)
  • Market relationships are based on the exchange of goods and services
  • This relationship ends when the transaction is complete
  • This principle has far reaching implications for the way in which work is approached

"When work is firmly rooted in social relationships, the way the work is organized will not be governed solely by the technical requirements for the job."

guild organization and technological change
Guild Organization and Technological Change
  • Guilds - groupings of people engaged in the same kind of occupation restricts the practice of a particular craft to members of the guild
  • New members often recruited within guild families
  • Guild regulates entrance of new members and, consequently, new blood into the industry because "outsiders" are restricted, innovation they may have for industry is never realized --> technological change is stifled
slavery and the inhibition of technological development
Slavery and the Inhibition of Technological Development
  • When slaves are readily available, there are few incentives to invent and use labor-saving technology
  • Rome/Greece --> few technological advances - many slaves
  • Middle Ages --> many technological advances - few slaves (Church forbade slavery)
the measurement of time and changed working patterns
The Measurement of Time and Changed Working Patterns
  • Relationship between work and time:
    • amount of time that is expended on work
    • the way that it is scheduled
  • In traditional societies the distinction between work and leisure unclear
    • work integrated with various religious and social activities
    • certain times of year required much work (harvesting) other times required little
    • no fixed schedules
  • In modern society work/leisure distinction is much sharper
  • Rise of Protestantism (Calvinism) gave a new centrality to work
the clock
The Clock
  • Major influence by this invention
  • Time telling devices always a part of human existence (Sun Dial, etc.)but none as "accurate" as the clock
  • Ancient world had little need for clock - society not regimented
  • The rise of the Medieval monastery brought about the need for precise time
  • telling
  • Monasteries had hundreds of monks and workers to be organized
  • Prayer time, Masses, and other religious observances required scheduling
  • Rule of St. Benedict - day/night divided into 12 hr. intervals - prayers said every 3rd hr.
  • First Clock - 13th century
  • Clock - embodies all the key characteristics of a machine
    • external source of energy required - no human or animal power needed
    • operation – automatic - required little human intervention
  • Output - standard - in hours, minutes, seconds
  • Clock made time into a substance, something to be saved or wasted
  • Clock is the symbol for modern age
  • Clock turned work into routinized procedures governed by artificial time schedules