According to Smith, there are three reasons why the division of labour increases productivity. First, Smith attests that the division of labour increases dexterity within the workplace. By dexterity, Smith means that an individual performing one task repetitively can accomplish that task faster than an individual who attempts to accomplish all tasks by himself. Carpentry is a prime example of Smith’s division of labour. It may take an individual an entire day to complete one chair… to cut, route, and sand the boards. Then to glue, screw, and finish the chair. If the job of making the chair was divided up between different individuals each performing one task, then the number of chairs completed in a single day would increase dramatically.
Second, Smith believed that the division of labour saves time. When one man must perform every task, it takes time to move between the different stations necessary to complete the task. Furthermore, changing jobs or tasks within the workplace causes psychological problems. It takes time for someone to adjust to a different task, whereas an individual who only performs one task never has the need to readjust. Take the carpenter for example; after cutting the boards to shape he must then move to route and sand the boards. The adjustment from cutting the boards to sanding the boards is a complete mental transition. Different tools, motions, and locations are necessary in order to sand the boards as opposed to cut the boards. The transition between tasks wastes valuable time and money. Another time-wasting element of the workplace without a division of labour is man’s intrinsic tendency to take breaks between jobs or tasks. The transition between diff...
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... process is to make a woolen coat which keeps a day labourer warm so that he, again, can start the chain of economic processes. Within each step of the woolen coat or chair construction, there exists a separate division of labor as well. In order to gather the lumber, there are dozens of separate steps necessary. Someone must cut down the tree, and then one must stack the tree into a truck. After which, one must drive the truck to the lumber yard. Then the trees must be cut into boards. Then the boards must be stacked and watered… it is an endless chain of responsibilities. Again, according the Smith, the most beneficial manner in which to accomplish these steps is to have one individual occupy each step. Therefore, it becomes apparent that there are thousands of individuals whose work goes into making something as simple as a woolen coat or a chair.
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