Agrarian Myth

This freakonomics post links to a photo essay from the Telegraph about how tourism and skiing in the Alps has changed (for the worse) the old landscape of agriculture, hard labor and religion.

Why do we care so much about the “agrarian myth”? Do we really think farmers of old had so much better time than we do? Is tourism and leisure really worse than hard labor?

Not only would those farmers probably not agree with the agrarian myth, those who use it to make some sort of moral argument are usually doing so hypocritically. Maybe the photographer should give up his lens in favor of a plough if he thinks farming is so great. I’ll bet he finds that this life is difficult and (for the farmers who sold off their land to tourism industry) less financially valuable.

Why are we supposed to be morally horrified at the fact that people are richer today and therefore have more time to drink beer and go skiing (though hopefully not at the same time) than during subsistence farming days?

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