When I was a kid, one of my mother’s guiding principles was that doing chores built character. The end result of this was that I became quite a character. Another impact of these youthful experiences is that I am generally inclined to do chores and chore like things myself, rather than hiring someone else to do it for me. Of course, this tendency was also reinforced by my natural inclination to not spend money.
When I went to college, my exposure to various social and political philosophies led me to adopt the view that exploiting the labor of others to do unpleasant tasks, such as chores (like cleaning the toilet) would be morally incorrect. There is, one might argue, a certain duty on the part of each person to clean his/her own toilet. Since this nicely meshed with my thriftiness and character building, I found this view appealing.
After teaching Aristotle’s ethical theory numerous times, I also realized that my approach seemed to fit in with Aristotle’s theory. To be specific the conditioning provided by such chores would (as my mother claimed) build positive character traits.
Recently, however, I began to reconsider my view. This occurred after I had spent hours and hours doing various house chores ranging from repainting the house to pulling out wheelbarrow loads of weeds. As I wrung the sweat out of the t-shirt, I thought it would be sort of nice to be able to hire someone to do those things. Under the influence of the 100 degree temperature, this seemed to be a fairly good idea.
Perhaps the best argument for this approach is economic: if a person can hire someone to do tasks for less than what s/he makes per hour and doing so frees him/her up to make said money, then that would make good sense. After all, why create less value when you can create more?
Of course, this does raise the character issue. Hiring someone else to do the crappy jobs around the house means that a person is not experiencing these tasks and their alleged character building qualities. There is also the moral concern that paying someone else (usually an exploitable minority) to do the crap tasks at a low wage is exploitative and breeds bad character.
In reply, it could argued that the alleged character building qualities of the crap jobs is a parental myth. It can also be argued that people can be hired at fair wages to do such tasks and this provides them with a job (especially important in the current economy).
My own current view is that I still do my own crappy chores. I clean the toilet, clean the gutters, pull up the weeds, rake the leaves, and so on. Of course, I do hire people who possess skills I do not-I did not try to install my own heat pump, for example. They are well paid (actually, calculated per hour they tend to make more than I do) so I do not feel bad about this (aside from having to shuck out the bucks).