From Powells.com interview with Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft:
Dave: As I read it, the underlying argument of Shop Class as Soulcraft is that we do our children a disservice by assuming college is the best path for them and by writing off the trades, without regard to their disposition or prospects. Do you think the book is being read and received the way you intended?Read more about Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford.
Matthew Crawford: I think it's being read fairly enough. I want to suggest we can take a broader view of what a good job might consist of, and therefore what kind of education is important. We seem to have developed an educational monoculture, tied to a vision of what kind of work is valuable and important — everyone gets herded into a certain track where they end up working in an office, regardless of their natural bents. But some people, including some who are very smart, would rather be learning to build things or fix things. Why not honor that? I think one reason we don't is that we've had this fantasy that we're going to somehow take leave of material reality and glide around in a pure information economy.
The stuff about work has been picked up and noticed most, which makes sense given the subtitle. But there's another major thread in the book that hasn't been commented on as much: our efforts to achieve some kind of self-reliance as consumers. I think the appeal of self-reliance is deeply connected to something we look for in work: the experience of seeing a direct effect of your own actions in the world, and feeling that these actions are genuinely your own. I think the appeal of self-reliance is deeply connected to something we look for in work: the experience of seeing a direct effect of your own actions in the world, and feeling that these actions are genuinely your own.
Sometimes, working in an office, the chain of cause and effect can be confusing and opaque, and responsibility gets spread around. Meanwhile, as consumers, if you try to fix your own car nowadays, you may pop the hood and find there's another hood under the hood; there's a design trend to "hide the works." It's hard to get a handle on things. When the world lacks a basic intelligibility, it doesn’t...[read on]
Visit Matthew B. Crawford's website.