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Adam Smith/Division of Labour - Essay Example

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The division of labor (DOL) is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, but a very slow and gradual consequence of human propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. According to Adam Smith, it is common and necessary to all men and inherent in human…
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Adam Smith/Division of Labour
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Download file to see previous pages It will be divided into four sections. The first section will discuss the meaning of division of labor. Secondly, the propensity to truck whereby men are capable of making contracts with each other unlike animals. Thirdly, the propensity to barter will be discussed giving attention to the self-interested nature of men that leads them to produce. Fourthly, the propensity to exchange one’s surplus produces with those of others in the market. Finally, a brief summary will be given.
Division of labor entails dividing one complete manufacture into several operations each of which is a distinct trade performed by one person. A good example given by Smith in the Wealth of Nations 1776 is pin-making sub-divided into eighteen distinct operations and each man handles one or two operations leading to high quantity of work being performed by the workman (Smith, 1776: 2-3). In this case, instead of producing one pin, the laborer produces 4800 pins per day as a result of the effort of ten men each handling one or two operations. Cooperation is thus vital for DOL to succeed. This division for Smith is well developed in countries with highest degree of industrialization and improvement. For Emile Durkheim, division of labor in society is a law of nature and the bases for social order (Durkheim 2014:35). DOL leads to increased dexterity of worker, time saving as moving between trades is minimized, and invention of machines as one tries to make his work easier to perform. It also leads to universal opulence as each and everyone (even those in lower ranks) is involved in some sort of trade and can get anything he requires. The question that needs answering is; where did division of labor originate from? Is it the effect of human wisdom or a necessary consequence of human nature?
To answer this question, insight will be gained from the work of Smith and Durkheim. Adam ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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