Feb 22, 2012 12:25 AM GMT
A pretty interesting look at how more broadly, families in the west have outsourced their chores to people around the world.
Yet the decline of specialization within the household owes its existence to a broader wave of specialization outside of the household.
Sure, very few wives sew these days, but all households still employ a specialist to sew — it's just that the sewing specialist is a garment-worker in China. And yes, both husbands and wives cook, but really, let's not overstate it — most of us are just re-heating. The real culinary skills have been outsourced to specialists: the food laboratories that make pastas, sauces, soups and stews.
We all know how to set off a dishwasher or washing machine cycle, but we're relying on the expertise of German engineers to get the job done. And the MIT-educated engineer who designed the Roomba robot is responsible for our clean floors.
The point is, our roles at home, like our roles at work, are being fundamentally changed by the very forces Adam Smith identified over two hundred years ago.
And this is where the Brooklyn jerky specialist comes in. He's actually making a product that homemakers once made themselves. We've become so much more productive in our specialized roles in the workforce that we can't afford the time to make our own jerky. That is, we've become specialists at making things that aren't beef jerky. And that provides the opportunity for a whole new industry to thrive — the all-natural jerky specialist.