The Wealth of Nation

Book I Chapter I: Summary

Of the causes of improvement in the productive powers of labor, and of the order according to which its produce is naturally distributed among the different ranks of the people.

What is the division of Labor?
Work separated into a number of tasks, each performed by a different person or group of people.

The consequences of the division of labor are:

1.) increase the dexterity in every particular workman
Increases the quantity of work of a laborer by reducing one’s work into a simpler operation
Roles can be subdivided into simpler tasks
Allows an employee to develop a proficiency at a specific task

2.) Save the time which is lost passing from one species of work to another
It is less efficient to have a person preform multiple tasks
Ex. A person who is harvesting cotton, then spins it and weaves it will spend more time than having individuals who are designated to harvest, spin, and then weave because they would have to switch between different species of work.

3.) Machines which facilitate and abridge labor, and enable one man to do the work of many
Replace the human where a machine is capable of doing the work to increase efficiency
Reflection: manufacturing jobs can there for be reduced to nothing if the entire process is automated; however, the jobs for engineering, software and maintenance/technicians would increase requiring more education and skill from the work force.