The Division of Labor
Though today we do not spend much time on this subject, because it is already completely integrated into our society, it is still import to understand. Adam Smith wrote this on the division of labor:
“The GREATEST improvements in the productive powers of labor, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgement with which it is Any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effect of the division of labor.”
By this Smith states that the improvements of labor are brought about because of the division of labor. Adam Smith uses the example of a pin-maker to explain the benefits of division of labor.
A lone pin-maker can maybe make twenty pins a day, but ten could make forty-eight thousand pins in a day. This may seem hard to understand but when you understand how hard it is to make a pin. One draws out the wire, another straightens it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, and a fifth grinds the head. Through the division of labor the ten men are able many more pins than the one man.
Smith than lists three specific benefits of the division of labor. 1. Increased dexterity 2. Saving of time 3. Application and invention of machinery.
1. If a man only does on task than he becomes much better at that one task than a person who has to do multiple tasks.
2. If a man only has to one task than he does not have to spend time switching between different tasks.
3. Finally if a man spends all of his time on one task than he is more likely to be able to invent a machine to make his work easier.
– James Dalley