The power that comes with knowing a trade is often under appreciated, since the trades have generally been looked down upon in modern times. A suit and a tie (sometimes referred to as a monkey suit) have replaced the worker’s apron, as the “respectful” garb in today’s society. The interesting aspect of skilled trades is how they have often throughout history become proprietary to the rulers of the time.
From what I understand is that during Egyptian times, the skilled workers who planned and built the pyramids, were often killed and buried within those same pyramids. Was it to keep the knowledge within the Egyptian Empire, maybe and maybe not. I don’t claim any knowledge or have I ever really studied history that intently. The blacksmith, was another skilled trade that was invaluable to their king or queen. So, often the blacksmith was employed by the crown, I’ve never heard stories of renegade blacksmiths. The same can be said of chefs or cooks, doctors, scribes and the bankers. All of the skills were brought under the crown. Without the skills, no kingdom would survive.
Things were turned on their head a bit with “the new world”. Mercenaries and other battle harden people were contracted by the crown to explore and exploit. Then again with “the West”. Ordinary people were encouraged to settle, only thing was they needed to eat and defend themselves. Guns and gunpowder was released to the public. Samuel Colt, John Browning and others sold firearms to the public. Whereas before, firearms were truly only made and used in the military. There were a few out there that got their own guns, but it was not considered normal for a regular person to own a firearm.
The United States has been revolutionary when it comes to trades though. The government has always sought out skilled trades for everything, but it is only in recent times that the trades have began to look more midieval or primitive. Regulation and unions are holding the trades back once again, making them subservient to the government. That’s why to be a gunsmith you are required by law to obtain an Federal Firearms License, if you want to cook your establishment needs to be licensed and you must comply with health codes. Plumbers, welders, doctors and other medical professionals, electricians. If you want to make clothing to sell, you must be licensed. You cannot make liquor and sell it without a license, heck you cannot even transport anything without first paying.
Every single aspect of our way of life is regulated to collect tax. As well as to control or stifle innovation. The government along with insurance companies. Look at the pharmaceutical industry, until they okay it (they get paid for their seal of approval) it is declared illegal.
Possessing the knowledge to make, fix or repair anything grants that person that much more freedom. Skilled trades often make more money than their university counterparts and they can fix their own stuff.