Harold’s post got me thinking about John Henry vs. “The Machine”. I am a fan of capitalism (it beats the alternatives). In this snow example, it has lowered the full price of removing snow. According to Amazon, Harold could buy a good snow blower for $300. Assuming it snows hard 5 times a winter in Chicago and that the blower lives for 6 years (I’m making up these numbers), then ignoring the lost interest and the cost of reading the instruction manual; rational Harold must ask himself whether he is a “John Henry”? The “easy” soft solution here is to buy the machine and pay $10 per snowfall removal. He would save time, and protect his back. Capitalism has allowed him (at low price) to substitute capital for labor. Armed with the blower, his driveway looks good and he has extra time to blog about the experience. By buying the blower, you increase manufacturing demand in the exporting nation that built it and you are likely to lower back breaking work in that country.