A Second Look at The Man with a Hoe
I sometimes use The Man with a Hoe as an example of what work was like before capitalism. On the other hand, by the mid-19th century capitalism had started, but had not yet gotten far. So… what benefits did capitalism bring him?
First, let's consider what we don't see. We don't see chains. We don't see an iron collar. We don't see an overseer making sure he didn't escape. He was neither a slave nor a serf.
Second, let's consider what we do see. We see clothes instead of rags. We see shoes on his feet. He might still have to shovel manure but at least he didn't have to wade through it.
In the course of the next century, the back-breaking labor and routine use of horse manure also disappeared.
In other news, this XKCD cartoon can easily be applied to anecdotes of the alleged problems of capitalism.