The Division Of Labor As An Individual 's Personality Essay

The Division Of Labor As An Individual 's Personality Essay

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The division of labor is a process in which individuals take on specialized tasks. Over time, philosophers and economists have developed multiple views on this concept and its resulting consequences. Adam Smith claims that the division of labor leads to greater productivity due to an increase in skill and a decrease in required time. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argue that it destroys the individual, as well as their power and creativity. Émile Durkheim agrees with Smith while addressing the negatives of specialization. Durkheim also explores organic solidarity, which he says creates social unity. One may argue that the division of labor is detrimental to an individual’s personality, but it can be beneficial. One might say that the division of labor is counter-productive to social unity because each job is immensely specialized, but as long as it is not forced, harmony will arise. Smith, Marx and Engels, and Durkheim all present views on the division of labor, but Durkheim’s argument is superior because it encapsulates the claims of the other two and extends the concept in new directions.
In his work, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith reasons that division of labor represents an increase in the productivity of a society, and he accredits this increase to three specific consequences. Adam states that, “the greatest improvements in the productive powers of labour seem to have been the effects of the division of labor” (Ch. 1). He exemplifies this claim by describing the trade of pin-making, and how, by splitting up the process into specialized jobs, people can make more pins in less time. Smith argues that this increase due to specialization “is owing to three different circumstances; first, to the increase in dexterity…secondly...

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...urkheim fails to see that the division of labor leads to a dangerous class system. However, Durkheim argues that classes will be content as long as the division of labor is not regulated (103). Regulations can cause the lower class to become dissatisfied and then “civil wars arise” (103). He goes on to say that in order to avoid this, the division of labor must be natural and not forced. So, as long as there are no rules to specialization, the class system should not be an issue.
Overall, Smith believes the division of labor is beneficial to productivity, Marx and Engels believe it extinguishes individuals, and Durkheim touches on both of these aspects while incorporating new ideas, making his argument superior. The division of labor can be analyzed in many ways, but according to Durkheim, good will come if everyone plays their role as “an organ of society” (105).

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