The Evolution of the Market Economy: Jobs

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Evolution of the Market Economy: Jobs The evolution of the market economy began during the pre-industrial era and ended roughly, by the end of the industrial revolution. Throughout this time, the nature of labor drastically changed for the American workers and slaves, specifically in Philadelphia. Society was predominantly based off artisan work up until the emergence of the division of labor. Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville have different opinions on how it affected the development of labor in America. Smith has a positive view on it, whereas Alexis views the negative. Furthermore, the introduction of machines majorly affected the workplace. Aside from the increase of productivity, Eli Whitneys cotton gin and the mechanical loom caused rebellions to occur among slaves and artisans, respectively. Needless to say, production in early America skyrocketed at this time due to these machines and the division of labor. By the 1700’s, the nature of work relied on skilled craftsmen called artisans. Each worker specialized in a field based on what they owned. For example, if you owned a loom, you were a weaver, and nothing else. The artisans would usually have an apprentice/journeyman to work alongside him. This kind of work was great for the individuals because there was little to no competition. Typically, in a colony, there was only one blacksmith, one baker, one sewer, one shoemaker, etc… All of the artisans were self employed and had complete control over their work. It was an autonomous system, which means that the workers had independence but were still tied to the economy. During this time, there was also merchant class, who focused on selling, rather than creating. Although the craftsmen were the majority of th... ... middle of paper ... ... and creativity among common workers decreased. However, the overall welfare of the country increased enormously. There was more production, more jobs, and more trade, which all led to a higher flow of money. The development of the market economy began with artisan work, merchants, slavery, and the division of labor. And from these, we begin to see the origins of capitalism in America. Works Cited Foner, Eric (2004) Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford Press. Clark, Christopher et. al (2008) Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s History. Volume One: To 1877. New York: Bedford St. Martin’s. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/WEALTH1.HTM De Tocqueville, Alexis. How an Aristocracy May be Created by Manufactures http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/ch2_20.htm
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