A friend introduced me to the phrase “modern peasant” this week. I hadn’t thought of myself as a peasant before.
In the old days, there were three kinds of peasants: slaves, serfs and freemen. These days most of us are serfs (which sounds like Smurf, so I quite like the word) aspiring to be freemen (which sounds kinda gross).
I am a Modern Serf.
Back then, serfs lived on a plot of land and worked for the landowner in return for a few exorbitant luxuries such as protection, justice and the right to find food in designated paddocks.
Modern Serfs still tend to live on plots of land owned by wealthy people, although often we choose to very slowly pay for that land so we can live on it and feel like it’s really ours.
Modern Serfs still tend to work for landowners too, although instead of the landowner providing us with protection, justice and the right to forage they provide us with money so we can buy our own home security systems, health insurance and groceries.
Back then, if you were born into peasantry you were stuck there and pretty bloody aware of your place. We Modern Serfs, of course, have a wide variety of career options and life choices to distract us from the fact.
Back then, peasants were at the bottom of a three-runged ladder. The other rungs were the clergy and the nobility.
I wonder who the Modern Clergy and Modern Nobility are.
I am a Modern Serf. I like the way that sounds.