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The Farmer and the Professor

26 Feb

Victor Davis Hanson pens another gem on the difference between teachers and other workers.

I was surprised to learn that the VDH was a farmer before and while he was a teacher and a professor. Who better to compare and contrast both worlds than someone who has done both.

Here is one of my favorite graphs from the article:

“There was no sick leave for the self-employed. A day with the flu meant the amount of work to do the next day doubled. Weekly compensation was not compensation at all, but rather an advance on an operating loan from the bank: If the crop came in and sold, and if at the end of the year such income exceeded expenses (I remember my first year, in 1980, we borrowed at 17 percent, and prices for everything from sulfur to fertilizer went up 10 to 15 percent in mere months), then one earned something for the year’s aggregate labor. If not (as in 1983, when, without explanation, the price of raisins crashed from $1,200 to $450 a ton), then one not merely earned nothing, but in effect paid for the privilege of working — a common, humiliating fate for the strapped pizza-parlor owner, the independent window-cleaner, or the car dealer. I figured that the 1983–84 operating losses meant that I owed the bank about $12 an hour for each hour I had driven the tractor, pruned, or irrigated, the entire time unknowingly paying for the privilege of hard physical labor. Again, all that is too familiar for legions of realtors, insurance salesmen, contractors, and the variously self-employed.”

It’s long but I highly recommend the whole thing. I think I’ll keep a copy of this handy for every time I come across a teacher who complains about their lot in life.

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Business, Culture, Politics

 

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