The Division Of Labour By Adam Smith Essay

The Division Of Labour By Adam Smith Essay

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The division of labour described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations is a product of individual self-interest. This is representative of Smith’s methodological individualist interpretations of human nature. Adam Smith deduces that the division of labour is beneficial to the individual, as it is in one’s own interest to work less whilst still engaging in tasks that are to their own specialities. Highly specialized work is beneficial for nations to grow economically whilst allowing individuals to further pursue their own rational self-interest. To further explain the concepts that Smith proposes I will first explain what rational self-interest in regards to human nature and how the division of labour emerges from self-interest. Secondly, I will briefly elaborate on the importance of specialization within the workforce in accordance with rational self-interest but not necessarily human nature. Thirdly, I will discuss the immediate and long term effects of the division of labour and its limits. Finally, I will conclude by reiterating Smiths views on the division of labour and the relation of this concept to human nature, rational self-interest and specialization.
Adam Smith’s logical deductions of human nature is that there are natural tendencies and inclinations of human beings as a whole, and that these tendencies can be observed and analysed to predict future actions. The foundation of this theory as defined in The Wealth of Nations is rational self-interest. Smith states that pursuing our own rational self-interest is a natural because it can be predicted that individuals ultimately look after their own wellbeing and seek to meet their own needs as it is the ‘natural effort of every individual to better his own condition’. An ...


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...e. In the short term, the engagement of an individual in highly specialized work is crucial for the worker to quickly produce goods that can be traded and sold to other specialized workers allowing an individual to do less work in order for their needs and self-interests to be met. A highly agricultural society is a limit on the division of labour as a society of this kind cannot thrive because it is necessary for an agrarian worker to be a master of all kinds of labour to appropriately follow their rational self-interest and meet their needs. In the long run, an economy of a nation that seeks to gain wealth by focusing on expanding its industrial sectors through specialization and the division of labour is not only natural , but it is also beneficial for self-interests of all by creating more dexterous workers, increasing labour efficiency, and spurring innovation.

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