How academics are like the 19th c laborers

A friend sent me this opinion piece from the NY Times, on how academics are like the 19th century laborers, in that they have control over their own time, a large factor in job satisfaction. It’s actually more about 19th century laborers than about academics today, a fact which is explained by a footnote which tells the reader,

Tom Lutz is the author of “Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America.”

It’s interesting, but I would be more interested in the dynamics of change in the academic world: there are forces at work changing the academic landscape, what are those forces? How do they impact academic life for both teachers and students? Jacques Barzun had some interesting things to say about that. Is there nothing worth saying on this matter since he wrote that 15 years ago?

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