I honestly don’t know why my teacher chose the book I have been reading. The man who wrote it must not have been in his right mind. I am referring to Walden, the Autobiography by Henry Thoreau. Maybe he wasn’t crazy, but some of what he said didn’t really make much sense to me. The main concept he portrayed, which I will use to answer the question presented to me, will be when he claimed that the division of labor is pointless. The question asks: “Was Thoreau dependent on the division of labor while he was living on Walden Pond?”

First, some general back ground. The Division of Labor is the separation of tasks that specific people will develop skills in. Walden Pond was the location in which Thoreau built a petty shack, which he dwelled in for about two years or so. He lived in poverty willingly, living on a diet of rice and farming extra food that he plowed and planted himself. He was trying to prove a point, but in the end, he couldn’t last there forever and went back to civilization, with only the shack to show for it. So, with that in mind, let’s get back to the question.

So, even though he ridiculed it earnestly, did Thoreau depend on the division of labor? My answer is, in fact, yes. Why, you ask eagerly? Well, for one, at the end of the first season in which he farmed, he ended up with some extra food and 8 dollars. Those eight dollars, I assume came from him selling some of his produce in order to maintain his existence. After all, how did he get the rice? He learned how to farm and gained some skill in that occupation, that’s how.

I don’t know why he thought the Division of Labor was pointless, but I do know he thought of many ideas that no one understood nor knew where they came from. I will, however, say this, it is not some aimless endeavor. It serves customers, and has made this country a very wealthy one.


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