Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Nation is Losing its Toolbox

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | about 2 years ago

United States 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Louis Uchitelle writes that in Aisle 34 of Home Depot is precut vinyl flooring, the glue already in place, in Aisle 26 are prefab windows, and if you don’t want to be your own handyman, head to Aisle 23 or Aisle 35, where a help desk will arrange for an installer as mastering tools and working with one’s hands recede as American cultural values. "At a time when the American factory seems to be a shrinking presence, and when good manufacturing jobs have vanished, perhaps never to return, there is something deeply troubling about this dilution of American craftsmanship," writes Uchitelle. "Craftsmanship is, if not a birthright, then a vital ingredient of the American self-image as a can-do, inventive, we-can-make-anything people." Mass layoffs and plant closings have drawn plenty of headlines and public debate over the years, and they still occasionally do. But the damage to skill and craftsmanship — what’s needed to build a complex airliner or a tractor, or for a worker to move up from assembler to machinist to supervisor — has gone largely unnoticed. “In an earlier generation, we lost our connection to the land, and now we are losing our connection to the machinery we depend on,” says Michael Hout. “People who work with their hands are doing things today that we call service jobs, in restaurants and laundries, or in medical technology and the like.” The damage to American craftsmanship seems to parallel the precipitous slide in manufacturing employment. and manufacturing’s shrinking presence helps explain the decline in craftsmanship, if only because many of the nation’s assembly line workers were skilled in craft work. “Young people grow up without developing the skills to fix things around the house,” says Richard T. Curtin. “They know about computers, of course, but they don’t know how to build them.”"

cancel ×

2 comments

Nothing new under the sun. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#40742445)

We have landmark wooden Gothic church in town that was barged out of New York City in kit form in 1848.

The Sears, Roebuck catalog was selling mill work, pre--fab doors, windows, stairways, and the like, as early as 1910. Sears would go on to selling barns, outbuildings, middle class homes in kit form.

The machine cut parts fitted together perfectly and could be run up quickly without waste.

Right on, brother! (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 2 years ago | (#40742629)

I've been trying for ages to convince my fellow exploitees that we must go back to the tools which even the Egyptians abandoned when they went high tech with the pyramids and irrigation canals, that we must go back to ignorance of the seasons and weather, back to hunting and gathering, and without tools other than what the Great Ugh-in-Sky gave us -- our hands and mouths. No reed containers to collect berries. No rocks or sharp sticks to kill food animals. No animal skins for warmth. No fire or built shelter from the rain, caves only, as found, or improved with our hands only. We must get back to our roots ... but digging for them with fingers only, no sticks!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...