The Amish still use the old ways too but the question is, does it make them better farmers?
I have to answer this because it goes to the heart of an issue I've struggles with all my life and maybe even to the heart of the difference between our two approaches.
If you buy into the idea that a farmer needs to produce X amount of bushels per acre; that he needs to get three cuttings of alfalfa in a season; that he has to have two glass cab tractors and numerous other implements just so he can knock off at three in the afternoon and then spend the rest of the day worrying about how to pay it all off...well, maybe the Amish aren't better farmers.
But that's not really an acceptable viewpoint because the standards for success are so subjective and so narrow.
If you ask the Amish if they're better farmers...or if or you broaden your standards to include whether the food he grows is wholesome; whether the land is healthy; whether he loves the soil and derives enjoyment from working the land; whether he's feeding his family and is content...I think you always end up with quite a different answer.
The factory mentality always has the man in service to the machines, and to the process, and to an arbitrarily enacted production level quite divorced from the needs of the individual himself. The "better" farmer that you extol is simply another factory worker.
The craftsman's mentality is just the other way around...the machines, the skills, the process, even the end result are all in service to the man.
I use the split bristle/braid method at least partly because I like it, not because I can't or haven't already mastered the wrapped method. It gives me satisfaction to do it that way...it's a technique that I have mastered (up to a point) that others have not or cannot. The skills and techniques are at *my* service...giving me joy and satisfaction. When I consider the way that Al or Janne hand stitch the outseam, I don't feel disdain or scoff at their efforts. Instead I marvel at their dedication and the way in which they have made the process theirs...made the work itself and each moment of the day a source for pride, contentment, and satisfaction. I don't handstitch outsoles myself, but someday I'd like to. That's why I'm a bootmaker...because I love those skills, I love the occasional fussiness, I love the necessity for patience, I love the smells of the handwax and the oak bark, the heft of the hammers, the grace of the awls, and the supple feel of the leathers.
I feel sorry for anyone, in any job, who doesn't feel some or most of that.