“They don’t make things like they use to” is frequently used as a putdown of modern workmanship. We have around us of homes, buildings, clocks, furniture, jewelry, etc. that are superior when compared to most modern examples of similar items. When we gravitate to using the phrase in question, I argue that we are uncritically buying into hagiography, the over glorification of the past events/things/people.
Let’s not be premature in dismissing the quality work and labor around us today. We do have poor quality workmanship today, that cannot be denied but the same existed in the past generations since the beginning of time. Just as the common and poor quality work of the past has more or less perished, so too will most of the common and poor quality of our generation’s workmanship. We can take comfort that our best too will join the collection of the best from the past generations we have inherited.