the Exchange

fredA few months ago I watched a speech given by Donald Miller who talked about the Industrial Revolution and the effect it had on men in the United States. It looked at the value and quality of life and how it changed as a result of that period in history. Carpenters, farmers, machinists, millwrights all worked from their homes. Its funny that when we look back at those men we can imagine them getting up before dawn at their kitchen table drinking their morning coffee. No natural light coming through the windows yet. Family still fast asleep. He has a quiet moment before heading to the workshop to start his day. What’s funny is we never think of this iconic image of the man who works from home as lazy. Flash forward today and and the man who works from home must be broken someway. Why isn’t he in the work force? Has he lost his job? Is this somehow his plan B?

According to Miller the industrial revolution took the skilled worker from his home where he had value and stuck him into a factory where he did the same job over and over again. What was the motivation? More money. 

The exchange
was self value for more money.

When I was a kid I would watch the Flintstones after school. I remember watching how Fred would relax in a hammock while some sort of automated animal would mow his lawn for him. And this is how I thought the future would be. (not animal lawnmowers) I thought at some point we would create the technology that would allow us more time for leisure. Time we could use to relax. 

We weren’t disappointed, the technology part came. Jobs that would normally take 8 hours of your day to do and perform only take machines a fraction of the time. So why don’t I have more time? I should be able to use this new technology for more leisure.  Instead,

The exchange was leisure for more money. If I can work faster and more efficient, than I can take on more work.

Here’s what I’ve found. The reality is we get more done, only to take more on.

So, the next time you see me in my hammock or at the coffee shop with a book and not my computer, just know that I am fighting back against
the exchange.