Hiniku – Irony

[Created by Me]

A recent article by the LA. Times had a rather ironic title, stating that wages are currently on the rise on California farms while the people seeking to work on said farms are decreasing.

After reading Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath for the past couple of weeks, within my mind has been trapped the vision of California farms being a sort of purgatory where migrant workers are too many and the wages are far too low, so this article had me extremely confused before I was pulled back to the 21st century from the Great Depression.

Conditions resulting the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl had created a mass internal westward migration of farmers and other people towards California, and this resulted in a surplus of supply of workers that the demand for jobs could not keep up with. This obviously resulted in lots of people getting paid far less for the same job, and this allowed for farm owners to profit immensely from cheap labor. Now that there currently a lack of supply of workers to meet demands, wages are increasing in order to attract more people to work. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but I just found it quite ironic to be reading about a time of low wages and too many workers while the exact opposite situation is unfolding in real life.

On a kanji note, it’s pretty funny how the Japanese word for irony is literally “skin” and “meat” put together. I would absolutely be interested to know how this came to be.


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