theodp writes "At a time when the question of what a good job looks like is wide open, a book excerpt in the NY Times magazine says it's time to take a fresh look at the trades. High-school shop-class programs were dismantled in the '90s as educators prepared students to become 'knowledge workers' in a pure information economy. Was this a huge mistake? A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic instead of accumulating academic credentials is now viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive, complains Matthew Crawford, who took his University of Chicago PhD and opened a motorcycle repair shop. Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues that the crucial distinction in the emerging labor market is not between those with more or less education, but between those whose services can be delivered over a wire and those who must do their work in person or on site. The latter will find their livelihoods more secure against outsourcing to distant countries. As Blinder puts it, 'You can't hammer a nail over the Internet' (never say never). Guess we all should have paid more attention to Nicholas Negroponte's landmark-in-retrospect Being Digital (ironically, no Kindle version)."