Thoreau and the Division of Labor

downloadHenry David Thoreau, author of Walden, also known as Life in the Woods, is known for his 26 month return to the land, and is an inspiration for the modern environmentalist. He also known for being against the free market and capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution, which was just beginning to change the world.

He says that he went to Walden pond to be self-sufficient, and live off the land. However, did Thoreau dependent upon the division of labor for the 26 months he lived there?

First, he mentions that he received seed and tools from others. If that isn’t the division of labor, I don’t know what is. He also spent money for building materials for his “humble” cabin, which again is relying upon the division of labor, which he claimed to despise. He was also a squatter; he lived on land that was not his.

Ironically he spent the rest of his life depending on the division of labor, and he had a business making pencils, and he lived in luxury in his mother’s home while he wrote a book about how much he hated luxury and the division of labor! So much for Thoreau’s attack on the division of labor and the free market economy.

 

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