Home

Take me back to the good old days

February 2011

Juliet Schor, in her book ‘The Overworked American’ has documented that 19th century industrialization represented the longest hours ever worked by any people, despite our overwhelming perception that farmwork is unnecessarily hard. The next most overworked people in history are us – we come right after the 19th century factory workers and coal miners, and well before any agrarian society.

…in ‘1066: The Year of the Conquest’ historian David Howarth notes that the average 11th century British serf worked one day a week to pay for his house, the land that he fed himself off of, his access to his lord's woodlot for heating fuel, and a host of other provisions, including a barrel of beer for him and his neighbor on each Saints day (and there were a lot of him). How many of us can earn our mortgage payment, our heat, and our beer on a single day's work?

— Sharon Astyk, How Expensive is Food, Really?