The WSJ published a story Friday about consumers hiring Amish contractors and subcontractors to build homes for folks who are not part of the strict conservative Christian sect. The lure being the Amish community’s tradition of craftsmanship and their renowned work ethic. Of course there is another bonus in employing a community that has long shunned modern living. Because of their restrictive set of beliefs, most Amish builders use family members and don’t pay unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation or insurance. That means that overhead costs are staggeringly low, an irresistible factor that clients uniformly found resulted in their houses being built not only faster but much cheaper than if they had hired non-Amish contractors. It was a fact that seemed to outweigh the downsides of using a workforce that is forbidden to own a phone, computer, or drive and who will most likely not have insurance or sign a comprehensive contract.
But for every set of restrictions whether imposed by the law or a higher authority there is a loophole. While Amish aren’t allowed to own power tools, they can use somebody elses; although they themselves are forbidden to drive, they can be driven, ditto when it comes to the use of somebody else’s telephone.