Not All the People Should Live on Salary

September 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

L.H. Bailey (left) at his home in Ithaca, New York

A mediation from L.H. Bailey for Labor Day
Not all the people should live on salary.
I think that we need the example and influence of men who do not live on salary. One reason why boys leave the farm is because in other occupations they are offered wages or salary, and the risk of livelihood is thereby reduced; but the very lessening of this risk sacrifices much of a man’s self-reliance, — it loses him his independence, not only in directly securing the means of support, but, what is more serious, in his attitude toward society.
Salary-practice is a concomitant of organization, and it goes with social stratification. The man who receives salary exclusively depends on some one else, and his opinions are controlled, or at least modified, thereby. Often to a very large extent he loses his autonomy. There is a general feeling among salaried men that they must engage inother business in unsalaried hours, not always so much, I think, because they desire to add to their income, as to satisfy the longing for some greater measure of independence.

The farmer is about the only man left who lives directly on his own efforts, without the aid of salary, speculation, or the non-intrinsic profits that accrue from trade. There is a tendency to organize agriculture, and thereby to develop salaries in it; this tendency is no doubt to be commended, yet I look with some apprehension to the effect that it may have on independent effort and opinion. Outlook to Nature, – L.H. Bailey

 
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