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Some say the world will end in fire - some say it will buy a lot of junk.

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  • Avery Austringer
    ... More crap! But with an improving median. Here s my logic: If everyone is doing subsistance farming everyone is going to have pretty much the same quality
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2006
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      >There are many people today making furniture that is every bit
      >the quality of anything made in the past. There's a lot of
      >crap, too, but then there always has been. (Sturgeon's Law!)
      >What would really be fascinating is to figure out if the crap-to-
      >quality ratio really has varied significantly over the centuries,
      >or if that is simply the persistence of nostalgia.

      More crap! But with an improving median.

      Here's my logic: If everyone is doing subsistance farming everyone is
      going to have pretty much the same quality of stuff. It won't be that
      great because there are no dedicated craftsmen to develop high end
      skills, better techniques, etc. As people are freed from subsistance
      farming more dedicated woodworkers can be supported by society so
      quality can go up.

      BUT - As people are freed from subsistance farming the disparity of
      wages is going to go up giving you a signifigant difference between
      those with lots of money and those without. The withouts are going to
      consume more furniture that the withs, simply on the basis of
      population.

      This logic gets burried at the industrial revolution because a lot more
      factors come into play, but I fell pretty confident in it through our
      period of interest.

      Avery
    • James Winkler
      Avery wrote: Here s my logic: If everyone is doing subsistance farming everyone is going to have pretty much the same quality of stuff. It won t be that
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1, 2006
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        Avery wrote: >> Here's my logic:  If everyone is doing subsistance farming everyone is
        going to have pretty much the same quality of stuff.  It won't be that
        great because there are no dedicated craftsmen to develop high end
        skills, better techniques, etc.  As people are freed from subsistance
        farming more dedicated woodworkers can be supported by society so
        quality can go up. <<
         
        I'm not sure I'm following you here...  and I'm not sure of the validity of the argument that if one is involved in 'subsistence farming' that one's time, energies and resources are so totally committed to this endeavor that such things as hunting, making clothes, pottery, tools, etc. is left to go begging...   seems more like a scenario for applied Darwinism to me.
         
        I would still argue that basic market forces are in play and must always be in play.  ... and that highly decorative arts are found throughout cultures and across history...  agrarian or not...  they may not exist in woodworking per se... but pottery and fabrics (note the Native American environments)...
         
        Even the prehistoric societies invested in art and high end craftsmanship (ref: Otsi the Iceman and the caves of Lasceau...)...  trading for 'high end' goods not available locally has a long history in history...  and, from my perspective seems much more dependant on the ability to procure them than on where the craftsmen come from... 
         
        If the syllogism is to hold, I would think that it must hold with all art forms of a culture and not just woodworking... yet, weapons and jewelry (note the Celts)... seem to reach a much higher level of artistry than general woodworking in most early cultures...  which would seem to argue that the psychological valuation of the culture toward these items was higher than on decorative wooden objects... on the other hand... the decorative wooden objects might just not have survived. 
         
        I think the point is more to what cultural value is placed on a particular art as to what level of sophistication it takes...  which brings us back to market forces...
         
        Chas.
         
         
         
         
         
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