OK, sure, it’s possible to make too much of this but still:
Our analysts are available. What do you want our rugby, cricket, and football experts to examine?
We still get some slavering at the thought that in economic hard times we just get everyone off digging ditches. We get to hear Woody Guthrie singing again or something. The mass ranks of peasants dying at the Belomors Canal. Or maybe the navvies building the railways, it’s always difficult to know which historical episode they’ve got in mind.
Any economic down turn is always met with cries of “go build something” and they always do envision some mass mobilisation of labour to do it. The current one seems to be “insulate every house in the country and create jobs in every constituency”. The bit that is always missed being that most people haven’t a clue about how to do such work. The division of labour and specialisation have seen to that.
Which is where our example comes in. So, people working on a newspaper, they’re journalists, right? And if there’s no sport to write about go write about something else. Except, obviously enough, it doesn’t work like that.
Because the knowledge to write about something is subject specific. And yet now think of what those glorifying mass labour projects are saying. That the out of work barista, accountant and diversity consultant can all be usefully employed with pick and shovel. But if we can’t even transfer skills from the sports to the coronavirus desk then that’s not really true is it?
Having the diversity advisers – and this is a lovely thought even so – navvie the railways into being is going to be about as effective as having the navvies – and this is a lovely thought even so – doing the diversity advising. Division and specialisation of labor means the one is not a substitute for the other.
It’s only in GuardianWorld that labour is such a lump that can be allocated as the Commissars wish. Which presumably means their economics pages are written by the sports desk which does, to be fair, explain a lot about that output.