The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 1, Chapter 2: Cause of Division of Labour
Chapter 2: The cause of Division of Labour
This division of labour is not originally the effect of any human wisdom.
- It is the necessary, very slow, gradual, consequence of the propensity in human nature to exchange one thing for another.
This propensity to trade probably arises from our faculty for reason and speech
more than being an original principle of human nature.
- It is common to all humans and not found in animals who do not know any contracts.
- Two greyhounds chasing a hare, act in concert accidentally because they have the same object at that time.
- Dogs never deliberately exchange bones with other dogs.
No animal ever naturally traded. When an animal wants something from another animal, it tries to gain its favour.
- A puppy fawns upon its dam
- A spaniel tries to attract its master if it wants to eat
Man sometimes does the same with other men, sometimes trying every servile attention to obtain their good will.
3Our propensity to trade for what we need, creates the division of labour in society.
- In a civilized society, he always needs the cooperation of many others
- But he can only maintain friendship with a few people in his entire life.
- Most animals are totally independent after maturity.
- But man must always depends on others, but not through benevolence.
- He will likely get help if he can use their self-love to his favour
- He must show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires.
- Whoever offers a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this.
- "Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer"
- In this way, we get most of what we need.
- "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
- We address, not their humanity but their self-love
- We never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.
- Only a beggar chooses to depend chiefly, but not entirely, on the benevolence of others.
- Donors supply him with his subsistence, but not always when he needs it.
- Most of his needs are supplied "by treaty, by barter, and by purchase" with the money donated to him
- In a tribe of hunters, a person makes bows and arrows better than any other.
- He exchanges them for cattle from people who can catch them better.
- From a regard to his own interest, bows and arrows becomes his chief business.
- Another excels in making roofs and also trades his service for cattle until roof-making becomes his employment.
- In the same way, a third becomes a smith and a fourth a tanner.
- Thus, everyone exchanges their surplus produce which are above their own consumption,
- It encourages every man to focus on a particular occupation and improve it.
The Difference Between Humans And Animals
The difference of natural talents in men is the effect of the division of labour.
- The difference between a philosopher and a street porter seems to arise not so much from nature, but from habit, custom, and education.
- They were perhaps very much alike as children, as they get older, the difference in their talents widens til they become totally different in employment.
- Without the disposition to exchange, everyone must have had the same duties and work to do.
- There could have been no such difference of employment and no great difference in talents
Humans Can Benefit Each Other, Animals Cannot
This disposition to trade forms the difference of talents and renders them useful.