That said, I'd like to suggest the contributors here to think about, and write about, the present conditions of, prospects for, and place in the 21st Century United States (or the setting of their choice) of "labor"; the artisan, laborer and manual worker.
We live in an age where domestic manufacture and industry is declining in importance to a degree unknown since the rise of the United States as an industrial nation. Even the pastoralists among the Founders, who saw their creation as a nation of smallholders and sturdy farmers came to see the importance of domestic manufacture. Thomas Jefferson said in 1816:
"We have experienced what we did not [before] believe: that there exists both profligacy and power enough to exclude us from the field of interchange with other nations; that to be independent for the comforts of life we must fabricate them ourselves. We must now place the manufacturer by the side of the agriculturist... Shall we make our own comforts or go without them at the will of a foreign nation? He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture must be for reducing us either to dependence on that foreign nation or to be clothed in skins and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these."It is doubtful that we can ever regain the dominance we owned in the period between 1945-1975 - we cannot hope to benefit from a world war destroying our competitors every generation. But we - the We of We the People - seem willing to allow our domestic labor and industry to slip to a mere shadow of itself in return for a largesse of cheap plastic geegaws from Asia.
Is this inevitable, or to be deplored? Is this irreversible, or merely temporary?
And what are the political, social and economic implications of the decline of Domestic Labor.
I suggest we spend the next week - before "Labor Day", itself an ingenious twist on what in the Old World is "May Day", a celebration of all things working class and Red - exploring the changes that have occurred, are occurring, and may occur, to our own laboring class here at home.