The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Jobs of the Future: Medieval Meets Modern

Sometimes if you wait long enough, old fashions again become the wave of the future. According to the New York Times, falconry, usually associated with knighthood and medieval epics, may be one of the jobs of the future:

At a time when many business solutions seem to come in the form of apps or other software, Airstrike Bird Control is promoting the ancient sport of falconry to potential customers.

Known as the “sport of kings,” falconry is thought to date back to 2,000 B.C. In medieval Europe, falcons were popular with hunters and served as a status symbol among the aristocracy.

Now, a falcon that once might have graced a king’s wrist could be helping a blueberry grower ward off hungry starlings, or the owner of a landfill contend with a siege of sea gulls.

For each Airstrike Bird Control assignment, a master falconer is deployed to scare away the problem birds by using either hawks or falcons. Hawks are better for smaller spaces; falcons, which fly at a higher altitude, are more suitable for large areas, like vineyards.

Like falconry, hunting is becoming more popular these days too. Hipsters, those uber-cool plaid and leather-wearing, woods-loving, nouveau-grunge types who usually live somewhere near Williamsburg in Brooklyn, are taking up the ancient art of finding one’s own food in the woods, and several businesses have popped up to take advantage. Slate reports:

Hunting is undeniably in vogue among the bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set. The new trend might even be partly behind a recent 9 percent increase from 2006 to 2011 in the number of hunters in the United States after years of decline. Many of these new hunters are taking up the activity for ethical and environmental reasons.

“It feels more responsible and ecologically sound to eat an animal that was raised wild and natural in my local habitat than to eat a cow that was fattened up on grain or even hay, which is inevitably harvested with fuel-hungry machines,” writes Christie Aschwanden, a self-described “tree-hugging former vegetarian.”

We at Via Meadia often point out how important new technologies will be in helping us solve environmental problems and move past the blue model breakdown. But, every once in a while, old technology does the same job. Perhaps the job creators of the future have as much to learn from EB White’s The Once and Future King as they do from Isaac Asimov.

Published on December 24, 2012 3:00 pm