What does Thoreau"s story about the Indian basket weaver in paragraph 8 page 4 illustrate about his views on capitalisim?
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Thoreau, in this paragraph jumps into a little anecdote about a Native American trying to sell his baskets he had weaved to a wealthy white lawyer. The lawyer, of course, does not want any.To express the lawyer's distaste for the "Indian's" craft, Thoreau states "that the lawyer had only to weave agruements." This play on words creates an understanding that the lawyer is regarded as a higher class than the "Indian" and his basket weaving...why are traditional intellectuals seen as superior to organic intellectuals? A man who uses his hands to create art and worth should not be any less than a teacher-or a lawyer in this case. Thoreau asks the meaning behind praising one man's work as successful and the other man's as not. He ask "Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?" Thoreau is questioning the tenants of Capitalism. He questions why only the intellect leading to profit and consumption is valued.
I'm questioning whether Aslan read this section, as it does not decry capitalism, but rather denotes one of its central tenets, namely subjective value. Thoreau is in the middle of explaining that he understands that people may not have any use for his words, experience or craft by way of parable. The Indian is in the wrong in the story as he expects having weaved the basket is his end of some bargain and the lawyer's end is to purchase it regardless of whether or not he can use it. "Do you expect me to starve?!" The Indian asks, as though the Lawyer has wronged him, but Thoreau points out that the Indian neither tried to sell the man something that was worth his while nor tried to convince him that the baskets were worth his while.
*Walden* by Henry David Thoreau