CHAPTER XI THE IRON BOUNCER

Any one who really wants a job can find one." This classic phrase, mellowed by a century of usage, provides us with an excellent example of what the sociologists call "cultural lag." A cultural lag is something that used to be true for one day and age, and which still persists in the language, though the circumstances which made it true have disappeared.

In a culture where the machine and the factory system were unknown, it was quite correct to hold that any one who wanted a job could find one. About a farm there is always work to be done--if not on somebody else's land, then grow your own corn, hew your own beams, and feed and house yourself. The American pioneer tradition provided more than enough work to go around. Thoughtless people still use pioneering language when discussing unemployment. It was true 100 years ago. To-day, throughout industrialized America, it is utterly untrue. When the factory with its specialized tasks called the cottagers from their self-sustaining fields and farms, a steady job ceased to be the common heritage, open to all who were willing to work, and became an elusive and uncertain quantity, available

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