by the Sandwichman
Wendell Berry has an essay in the May Harper's Magazine, "Faustian Economics: Hell hath no limits." The concluding paragraph reads, in part:
"Whichever way we turn, from now on, we are going to find a limit beyond which there will be no more. To hit these limits at top speed is not a rational choice. To start slowing down, with the idea of avoiding catastrophe, is a rational choice, and a viable one if we can recover the necessary political sanity."
I glanced at the title and on the way home, before reading Berry's essay, was thinking about those limits Hell (and growth economics) hath none of. Closest to home for me is the "only so much work to go 'round" of the infamous lump-of-labor fallacy. "Sharing the work" has always only one side of an equation the other side of which was limiting the hours of labor. English factory inspector, R.J. Saunders, observed in 1848, "Further steps toward a reformation of society can never be carried out with any hope of success, unless the hours of labour be limited, and the prescribed limit strictly enforced.
For some reason, something that an English factory inspector had the temerity to suggest 160 years ago, when the condition of the working class left a whole lot to be desired, is something most Americans know they "just can't afford" today. I don't get it. Unless it's a case of that knowledge without wisdom, which, to quote Berry paraphrasing John Milton's Archangel Raphael in Paradise Lost. "is not worth a fart..."