Wired founder Kevin Kelly was recently musing on his blog about the position gardeners will have as the "network economy" takes hold.
He quotes Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman:
The time may come when most tax lawyers are replaced by expert systems
software, but human beings are still needed–and well paid–for such
truly difficult occupations as gardening, house cleaning, and the
thousands of other services that will receive an ever-growing share of
our expenditure as mere consumer goods become steadily cheaper.
And then Kelly adds his own fillip:
My argument is that
great gardeners will be high-priced not only because they are scarce and
exceptions, but also because they, like everyone else, will be using
technology to eliminate as much of the tedious repetitive work as
possible, leaving them time to do what humans
are so good at: working with the irregular and unexpected.
I'm not sure either one of these guys has any idea what he's talking about: "truly difficult occupations" and "great gardeners" and "tedious repetitive work." Are we discussing farmers? Landscape designers?
But yes, I have noticed that the people who do manual crafts get to charge nicely for them. Last year I hired a handyman for two days without asking his rate: $45 an hour.