*Masters of Craft*

by on April 29, 2017 at 1:01 am in Books, Economics, Food and Drink, Uncategorized | Permalink

The author is Richard E. Ocejo, and the subtitle is Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy.   Here is one summary bit:

The three transformations that frame the content of this book — the restructuring of elite taste around omnivorousness, the changing of traditional community institutions into destinations of the new cultural elite in retail, and the recoding of work in the new economy — combine to explain how these jobs and businesses have become upscale, cool, and desired.

The jobs are bartender, distiller, barber, and butcher.

…these new elite manual labor jobs give men — mainly those of a certain race and social class standing — the chance to use their bodies directly in their work, as men did in the industrial era but do so less often today, as well as their minds, which grants them greater status in these jobs than they would otherwise have.  They are simultaneously respected knowledge workers and skilled manual laborers, and perform their work in public.  Men are thus able to use these jobs to achieve a lost sense of middle-class, heterosexual masculinity in their work.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the evolution of labor markets, how America will respond to ongoing automation, the production of status, and the role of men in an increasingly feminized society.  It is more of an “thick description, insights throughout” book than an “easy to sum up the bottom line” treatment.  Here is the book’s home page.  Here is a very positive FT review of the book.

1 Steve Sailer April 29, 2017 at 2:27 am

Don’t forget Ice Cube Carver.

“So from what you’re saying it’s like President McKinley was never assassinated. It’s as if the 20th century never happened!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_HGqPGp9iY

Reply

2 BenK April 29, 2017 at 7:20 am

It’s an interesting issue. After all ‘crafting’ is generally an AC Moore/Pinterest-type activity. ‘Art’ is similarly situated, at least at the middle-tier level.
But Craft and Art (and the intertwined ‘artisan’) have a different sense, both originally, and in new industrial contexts.

Reply

3 Jan April 29, 2017 at 8:25 am

Don’t forget the professional pencil sharpener: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spMaP-_Cq_8

This guy is oozing with testosterone.

Reply

4 msgkings April 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm

You know this guy David Rees is putting us on. Prior to this he did the extremely funny comic Get Your War On. http://www.mnftiu.cc/

Reply

5 UR Reader April 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

“The jobs are bartender, distiller, barber, and butcher.

…these new elite manual labor jobs give men — mainly those of a certain race and social class standing — the chance to use their bodies directly in their work, as men did in the industrial era but do so less often today, as well as their minds, which grants them greater status in these jobs than they would otherwise have. They are simultaneously respected knowledge workers and skilled manual laborers, and perform their work in public. Men are thus able to use these jobs to achieve a lost sense of middle-class, heterosexual masculinity in their work.”

Or maybe these “high social class standing” men found that their liberal arts/business degree didn’t provide the great opportunity they were promised.

Reply

6 Troll Me April 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

This isn’t 1975 or 1995 any more. No one thinks you can go get any degree and walk into a job. That world does not presently exist, and that’s not fair for many people who were surrounded by successfully employed people who mainly had the qualification of “any degree” in the 80s or 90s … followed that success path, and then found a different job market.

So … when you go into a field where there are 10,000 competitors and 50 actual jobs … well, maybe they’ll just have to be good at whatever they do outside of their specialziation in uni. Maybe not such a horrible thing to be served by someone who literally has the ability to stand near par with experts on the history and cultures of the places of respective ingredients, or different stories and other curiosities relating to the ingredients consumed and experiences had.

Reply

7 FG April 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

“Maybe not such a horrible thing to be served by someone who literally has the ability to stand near par with experts on the history and cultures of the places of respective ingredients, or different stories and other curiosities relating to the ingredients consumed and experiences had.”

I like to think I’m less of a STEM chauvinist than most of my peers (I do math and computer science), but in my experience it seems possible to complete a B.A., even at a top 5 school, without becoming anywhere near an expert in anything.

Reply

8 Troll Me April 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Very true.

But they have no excuse. If they wanted to, they are equipped with all the tools needed to be able to do so.

If someone said “here’s $500, can you write a B+ paper on the history and cultural relevance of ingredient A”, many would do so. But few will do the same on the belief that it will increase lifetime tips by that same amount.

Reply

9 UR Reader April 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm

” No one thinks you can go get any degree and walk into a job.”

I know a few people who believed that. Not everyone reads online comment sections, when your sources of info are parents, the public schoolteachers, and facebook, what should we expect?

“Maybe not such a horrible thing to be served by someone who literally has the ability to stand near par with experts on the history and cultures of the places of respective ingredients”

The customer doesn’t have to pay back their student loans.

Reply

10 Jeff R April 29, 2017 at 9:44 am

As someone who stares at spreadsheets for most his waking life, I say good for those people.

Reply

11 EmanuelNoriega April 29, 2017 at 9:56 am

Tyler is pivoting to be more positive and more supportive. Why do you have to try to mess that up with resentful comments like this?

Reply

12 P Burgos April 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm

If Jeff Rs comment resentful? Is Noriega’s comment sarcastic? It is conceivable that an Aristotelian gentleman might master a craft, but I doubt that they would stare at spreadsheets or computer screens for most of their waking life (unless they are some sort of scholar or computer scientist). Most work done on spreadsheets (and computers more generally) are only instrumental goods, not anything that has any value beyond its usefulness.

Reply

13 Emanuel Noriega April 29, 2017 at 3:24 pm

The world is made better for every person who pursues themselves and their craft with guileless passion.

This comments section does not have to exist as a rogues gallery for Marcusian one-dimensional men.

Reply

14 Ivy April 29, 2017 at 11:24 am

The demise of the knocker-up job was offset by employment and patronage at knocking shops.

Reply

15 chuck martel April 29, 2017 at 11:53 am

“the role of men in an increasingly feminized society. ”

The allocation of billions of US dollars financing the “Cold War” was evidently meant to protect American society from changes that could be brought about by the spread of international collectivism. So, what happened? The US resembles more and more the twentieth century Soviet configuration. Women becoming a larger and larger portion of the work force, children being raised at day care centers, economic policies being decided at the highest levels with ignored local input. Censorship in academia. A left-wing ethos that permeates much of the population. Of course the feminist mothers instill their values on their increasingly sissified male offspring. The US is only a generation or two from being easy pickings for a masculine opponent.

Reply

16 Affe April 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Sounds like we’re back in WWII, when America Was Great. Trump’s American Dream incarnate.

As far as the main post, he can add a bunch of other hipstery occupations such as clothing manufacturers, small bike makers and some small boot/shoe makers, though these don’t necessarily perform publicly.

Reply

17 Emanuel Noriega April 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm

What made America great was a generation of psychologically traumatized veterans who dedicated themselves to building a state and society in which everyone could build a sense of dignity.

Reply

18 Troll Me April 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Gotcha.

Women at work is Soviet.

By comparison, does capitalism want women barefoot and the kitchen? I think they have more useful things to do with their time now that couples have 2 children on average not 6 or 8, and now that machines are doing the most intensive aspects of housework (dishes and laundry).

Reply

19 P Burgos April 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I don’t keep track of the most of the commenter’s ideological leanings. Is this serious or satire? I suspect that older folks (and maybe many right wing and libertarian folks as well) miss-understand both capitalism and communism. In any system there is going to be a government, and there is going to be hierarchy. Whether property is nominally privately owned or publicly owned, it is defacto always the case that someone controls the property and benefits from that control. The only possible exception are some small scale religious communities (maybe some religious orders, Amish communities, or Kibbutzim). The big distinctions between the US and the Soviet empire were that the US was much more committed to attempts to implement procedural justice and that it had a much more egalitarian social structure. Without the threat of a communist revolution, it appears that elites the world over are very happy to rule in their narrow interests. Of course, being human, they have constructed ideologies that make it seem as if pursuing their narrow interest is virtuous and good for everyone, and believe their actions and decisions are based upon pursuing the public good, not their self-interest. They have even convinced a good number of non-elites that this is the case (see the Clinton’s general ideological slant over the past 30 years and their buckracking, and how it is defended by some Democrats). In Russia the ideology seems to be stability and state power.

Reply

20 FG April 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm

The efficacy of satire in this comment section is . . . unclear.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: