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Week Three Blog Revision – Theresa

August 19th, 2011 No comments

Stephen Duck: What an exhausting day at work! I felt like Odysseus today, that’s how long I was toiling in the fields. When I’m out there, “briny Streams [of] Sweat descends” and “no intermission in [my] Works [I] know.” (Duck, The Thresher’s Labor, 45)

John Locke: Why, congratulations! All your labor was certainly for good reason, for your labor is your own, and nobody else can claim it.

Duck: That’s not a very funny joke. I toil away all day long for my terrible landlord. He is always complaining that I don’t work hard enough, and that the neighboring lord’s workers are far more hard-working than I am. He always complains that us field workers have “idled half our Time away.” (Duck, The Thresher’s Labor, 75)

Locke: But what you do through your own effort belongs to you. After all, if you didn’t cut the wheat and stack the hay, it would lie in the fields to rot, or for wild animals to consume. It is through your labor that the wheat becomes useful. As I like to say, “the labour of [your] body, and the work of [your] hands, we may say, are properly [yours].” (Locke, Treatise of Civil Government, 2.5.27)

Duck: That all sounds very nice, but if I didn’t thresh the fields and mill wheat into flour and till the soil, I wouldn’t have a place to live. If I didn’t work for the landlord, I wouldn’t have a house to live in!

Locke: But once a person “hath mixed his labour with” something in labor by removing it from its natural state, he will have made “it his property…for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to.” (Locke, Treatise of Civil Government, 2.5.27)

Duck: That’s not even a little bit true! I don’t own what I work on. The landlord takes everything.

Locke: Labor doesn’t need to be physically difficult. I earn money by thinking. Or writing down what I think, anyways.

Duck: You sound like you have never worked a day of hard labor in your life. And you earn money for those ridiculous ideas you have?

Locke: Wait a moment there, you do earn something for your work. Doesn’t your work earn you food for your meals and a home for your family?

Duck: I suppose, at the end of the day, “from the Pot the Dumpling’s catch’d in haste,/And homely by its side the Bacon’s plac’d/Supper and Sleep by Morn new Strength supply” (Duck, The Thresher’s Labor, 157-160).

Locke: So maybe your labor isn’t literally your property, but you are not working for nothing.

Duck: I suppose you are right, that I am not working for nothing. …but my labor is still a lot of hard work.

 

 

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Week 3 Blog Post Revision – Chelsea

August 19th, 2011 No comments

In Colliers poem, The Woman’s Labour, she argues for the fact that a woman’s work is never done. Although it’s written around the 17th century, many of the ideas revolving around a woman and working can relate to today’s time period. Jonathan Swift writes a poem around the same time titled, “The Ladies Dressing Room”, that consist of pointing out all of the unseen flaws that women have in an effort to reach perfection. I think if these two authors had a conversation on the labour issue it would consist of Collier pointing out the fact that all women do not have the resources to live a life of luxury, even when it comes to their appearance. Some, if not most, women’s daily lives consist of working just to get food to stay alive. So for Swift to create the image that all women are secretly using filthy methods to create a fake perception of beauty is inaccurate. No, he is not directly scrutinizing the lives of women working in the fields, however, it can be looked at from both points of view. For Collier, work is what makes a woman more valuable, so there is not a need for them to manage their outer appearance as much. But for Swift that is all that woman care about when they are attempting to be attractive for the opposite sex. However, there should be a balance in both situations since being happy with their outer appearance is something that most women are concerned with. Swift, might argue for the fact that women’s lives are not truly consumed with work, and if they spent less time primping for their day, they may complete some of their daily chores in a more timely fashion. Even if they are not using pounds of makeup, or trying on endless amounts of clothes, they are still spending unnecessary minutes being concerned about an image that for most is not the real them whatsoever. In the end, I do not think Collier and Swift would agree on this topic, Collier believing that women deserve to have a moment of feeling their best through their tiresome work days, even if it really is not their job to look pretty. And Swifts opinion being that their workdays would not be so bad if they were not concerned with their appearance since it ultimately doesn’t really have anything to do with their labor.

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Week 3 Blogpost Revision: David

August 18th, 2011 No comments

In Defoe’s text On Trade, merit plays a big role in whether or not you succeed. How would your business grow if you did not have merit? Defoe considers merit to be important for your trade to be successful. You have to work hard, attend to the customers, and sell goods that are of good quality. Then will you form a good reputation with the people which will benefit you in the long run. This idea is part of Alain De Botton’s idea on meritocracy. Meritocracy is the idea that those who work hard will be rewarded accordingly. Business nowadays are built on merit as well just as they were in Defoe’s text. Successful companies and businesses have a good reputation that satisfies the customers which brings them back to buy more goods from them.

However, having a meritocracy may be the downfall of your business and economy. If one person fails in their endeavor to make a business, he or she may feel that they deserved to fail because in a meritocracy, those who fail deserve to be at the bottom. The hope that ones hard work will bring them just rewards keeps the worker going but that may just be an empty promise. Defoe may emphasize the importance of merit but there is always two sides of the story. To Defoe, merit is your prestige, it brings about success and Button agrees that merit is a positive aspect of economics, however with merit comes envy and envy brings on conflicts. Just know that merit is definitely important in trade and that it has bigger implications than just in the business world.

 

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Revised Blog Post #2 – Week 3 – Caitlin

August 18th, 2011 No comments

John Locke and Stephen Duck both write on the topic of labor and how much entitlement a laborer has based on his work.  In Locke’s opinion whoever works the land is entitled to whatever it produces because of that labor, any man can work as much land as he wants as long as no space or produce is wasted. If a man takes more than he can handle and some goes to waste it is considered depriving someone else the chance of successfully working the land and it can be taken away. The world Duck lives in not only disagrees with but is completely backwards from Locke’s theories. He works the master’s land and if he were to take any of the produce that he worked for without permission it would be considered stealing. His labor produces the value, but none of it belongs to him, while the landowner doesn’t work for it at all and gets all of the profit before dealing out wages.

If the philosopher and the poet were to have a conversation I think that Locke would try to inform Duck of his rights as a hard working man. That he should be working his own land, that all he has to do is move further out to where there is wild land, ripe for the working for any free man. Duck would probably think this sounds nice but understands that he needs other people to make a living, he needs the other people to work the land with him and despite that his family has most likely worked on this spot for generations. Even though he doesn’t own this land, he might feel a connection to it. To which Locke would say something along the lines of “Nonsense!” there is a whole world out there ready to be tilled and planted. Why not try America? They have endless amounts of workable land out there!

In the end, Locke and Duck never would agree on what a laboer is entitled to. Because though Locke’s philosophies sound nice and utopic, Duck works in the real world, or at least what he thinks his reality has to be. His labor does not entitle him to the fruits of the fields he works, and this is the cycle in which he will live his life.

 

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Week 3 Blog Revision, or The Merit of Credit

August 15th, 2011 No comments

Defoe’s allegory of credit in his work “On Credit” addresses the idea of merit in relation to credit, where those who have the least need for credit tend to be deemed the most deserving while the needy are looked over as undeserving.  Credit constantly chases money, and as the borrowers become attached to her services, they risk losing and not being able to reclaim everything they enjoyed while in her company.

Even though the poor would need credit and money more than the rich, the rich tend to spend more which makes them a more favorable “client” of credit.  While the rich didn’t need credit for the essentials like the peasants, they instead invest and spend on unnecessary luxury items, both the 18th century as well as the modern era.  As a result the spenders were beginning to be viewed as the most valuable contributors to society since their spending produced sent ripples through the economy, extending the effect of the credit far beyond the initial loan.

Defoe’s personification of credit as an attention-seeking whore reflects the fickle nature of loans and credit, since those who have built up a history with Credit receiving preferential treatment.  At the start Credit just patiently waits, offering her “services” to all, especially those who look like they can pay well, and as long as the payments keep coming Credit sticks around.  However as soon as a payment is late, Credit’s trust in her customer fades, their worth evaporating in her flighty eyes.  A rich man who wrongs Credit must start with the common poor folk and work diligently to earn his lady’s favor again, though it takes years of perfect behavior before she will forgive his missteps.

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Week 3 Revision-Thomas: Economic Identity

August 15th, 2011 No comments

An economic identity is the characteristic of an individual within the context of society. By living a purely inward lifestyle, all labor is for self-support, and on the flip side, a purely outward lifestyle consciously supports growth of the community. On this topic, I can imagine a conversation between John Locke and Bernard Mandeville. They would probably agree that a slight inward sense of identity with personal incentive is necessary to fuel the system overall.

Examining the inward identity, it is necessary that individuals have personal goals in order to survive. Locke, in his Second Treatise of Civil Government, states that if man did not work the land to make it private and thus remove it from the commons, then “if such a consent as that was necessary, man had starved, notwithstanding the plenty God had given him”. Private labors make survival possible and make use of that which was once worthless. Likewise Mandeville, in his The Grumbling Hive, introduces the reader to a thriving society in a beehive but at the cost of “Millions endeavouring to supply; Each other’s Lust and Vanity”. By each working for their own gain, the bees create a complete economy as they “Convert to their own Use the Labour; Of their good-natur’d heedless Neighbour”.

However, too much inward identity causes a corrupt and unhealthy economy. This begins with a “desire of having more than man needed” and thus “alter[s] the intrinsic value of things” (Locke). When people try to hoard and reallocate goods at an inflated cost, they throw the system off balance, away from the natural state God had put it in to provide equal opportunity for all. It is when the system becomes this way that the lower class is taken advantage of, “urg’d by meer Necessity; [They] Were ty’d up to the wretched Tree; For Crimes, which not deserv’d thar Fate; But to secure the Rich and Great” (Mandeville). By preserving the equality of all, Locke and Mandeville envision an orderly society formed by naturally organized cooperation.

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Blog Three Post – Theresa

July 5th, 2011 6 comments

Stephen Duck: What an exhausting day at work. I felt like Odysseus today, that’s how long I was toiling in the fields.

John Locke: Why, congratulations! All your labor was certainly for good reason, for your labor is your own, and nobody else can claim it.

Duck: That’s not a very funny joke. I toil away all day long for my terrible landlord. He is always complaining that I don’t work hard enough, and that the neighboring lord’s workers are far more hard-working than I am.

Locke: But what you do through your own effort belongs to you. After all, if you didn’t cut the wheat and stack the hay, it would lie in the fields to rot, or for wild animals to consume. It is through your labor that the wheat becomes useful.

Duck: That all sounds very nice, but if I didn’t thresh the wheat fields and stack the hay and till the soil, I wouldn’t have a place to live. If I didn’t work for the landlord, I wouldn’t have a house to live in!

Locke: Easy solution, you should find your own land to till. There is plenty of land and so many resources that there is no reason that the fruits of your labor should go to someone else.

Duck: You have some very strange ideas. I think what you need is a hard day of labor, then maybe you’ll see my misery.

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Week 3 Blog – Chelsea

July 5th, 2011 3 comments

In Colliers poem, The Woman’s Labour, she argues for the fact that a woman’s work is never done. Although it’s written around the 17th century, many of the ideas revolving around a woman and working can relate to today’s time period. Jonathan Swift writes a poem around the same time titled, “The Ladies Dressing Room”, that consist of pointing out all of the unseen flaws that women have in an effort to reach perfection. I think if these two authors had a conversation on the labour issue it would consist of Collier pointing out the fact that all women do not have the resources to live a life of luxury, even when it comes to their appearance. Some, if not most, women’s daily lives consist of working just to get food to stay alive. So for Swift to create the image that all women are secretly using filthy methods to create a fake perception of beauty is inaccurate. Swift on the other hand, might argue for the fact that women’s lives are not truly consumed with work, and if they spent less time primping for their day, they may complete some of their daily chores in a more timely fashion. Even if they are not using pounds of makeup, or trying on endless amounts of clothes, they are still spending unnecessary minutes being concerned about an image that for most is not the real them whatsoever. In the end, I do not think Collier and Swift would agree on this topic, Collier believing that women deserve to have a moment of feeling their best through their tiresome work days. And Swifts opinion being that their work days would not be so bad if they were not concerned with their appearance.

 

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Week 3 Blog Post – Caitlin

July 5th, 2011 4 comments

I chose Locke and Duck on the topic of labor and the entitlement of the laborer based on his work. Locke is of the mind that working the land entitles the laborer to the profits gained from the work of their own labor, and when it gets crowded, people can just continue to move out and create more workable land from wild land. Duck lives in a different time period and reality. He works the master’s land and works under the landlord, his life is an endless agricultural cycle and he sees no payoff at the end. He doesn’t own any of the land he works and if he were to take any of the fruits of it home without permission it would be considered stealing from the land’s master. I think that Locke would try to inform Duck of his rights as a hard working man and what he is entitled to. In response Duck would call Locke an oblivious philosopher and thinker whose never done a hard day’s labor in his life and has little or no idea of the realities of the hierarchy of agriculture in Great Britain. Ultimately I don’t think they would agree on what rewards labor entitles a laborer, one thinking the other a high minded pansy and the other thinking the laborer an educated but still simple-minded worker who has no concept of philosophy but, granted is good at rhyming.

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Week 3 Thomas: Economic Identity

July 5th, 2011 7 comments

Economic identity is an important factor to consider when living in any community. People can either choose to live with an outward lifestyle to support the community, inward for self support, or a mixture of these. I can imagine a conversation between John Locke and Bernard Mandeville regarding the types of economic identity and which is best.

I feel that these men would agree that it is necessary to have an outward sense of economic identity, that each of us are tied to one another and must consider our own earnings, leisure, spending, property, services, and products of labor in the context of our neighbors. By taking as much as we need to live and sharing with others, the greatest happiness can be achieved. Locke points out that we should each own property with as much labor as we put into it, showing a sense of personal ownership. However, Locke also points out that we  should live in a way that is considerate of others so that we may all have a share and no property is wasted or spoiled, like the laziness and greed found in Mandeville’s beehive early on. Likewise, Mandeville shows us with a beehive how a bustling society can become strongly unified once it realizes the need for a common goal and well being, suggesting that a society will naturally be outwardly focused if a moral compass is in place. While both men hint at a governing body to preserve the rights and property of the people, their writings would suggest that they believe each person can have a unique and personally chosen role while still supporting the community. There isn’t pure socialism or anarchy in either Locke or Mandeville’s vision of an orderly society, but a naturally organized cooperation.

 

 

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