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OF THE CAUSES OF IMPROVEMENT IN THE PRODUC-
Of the Divifion of Labour.
HE greateft improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, feem to have been the effects of the divifion of labour.
The effects of the divifion of labour, in the general business of fociety, will be more eafily understood, by confidering in what manner it operates in fome particular manufactures. It is commonly fuppofed to be carried furtheft in fome very trifling ones; not perhaps that it really is carried further in them than in others of more importance: but in those trifling manufactures which are deftined to fupply the fmall wants of but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen muft neceffarily be fmall; and thofe employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the fame
workhouse, and placed at once under the view of c HA P. the fpectator. In those great manufactures, on the contrary, which are deftined to fupply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs fo great a number of workmen, that it is impoffible to collect them all into the fame workhouse. We can feldom fee more, at one time, than thofe employed in one fingle branch. Though in fuch manufactures, therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts, than in those of a more trifling nature, the divifion is not near fo obvious, and has accordingly been much less obferved.
To take an example, therefore, from a very trifling manufacture; but one in which the divifion of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of the pin-maker; a workman not educated to this business (which the divifion of labour has rendered a diftin&t trade), nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the fame divifion of labour has probably given occafion), could fcarce, perhaps, with his utmoft industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this bufinefs is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewife peculiar trades. One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires
BOOK two or three diftinct operations; to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins is another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into the paper; and the important bufinefs of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eigh teen diftinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by diftinct hands, though in others the fame man will fometimes perform two or three of them. I have feen a fmall manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed, and where fome of them confequently performed two or three diftinct operations. But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the neceffary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upwards of four thousand pins of a middling fize. Thofe ten perfons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each perfon, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thoufand pins, might be confidered as making four thou fand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought feparately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day; that is, certainly, not the two hundred and fortieth, perhaps not the four thoufand eight hundredth part of what they are at prefent capable of performing, in confequence of
2 proper divifion and combination of their C H A P. different operations,
In every other art and manufacture, the effects of the divifion of labour are fimilar to what they are in this very trifling one; though, in many of them, the labour can neither be fo much fubdivided, nor reduced to fo great a fimplicity of operation. The divifion of labour, however, fo far as it can be introduced, occafions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour. The feparation of different trades and employments from one another, feems to have taken place, in confequence of this advantage. This feparation too is generally carried furtheft in those countries which enjoy the highest degree of industry and improvement; what is the work of one man in a rude state of fociety, being generally that of feveral in an improved In every improved fociety, the farmer is generally nothing but a farmer; the manufacturer, nothing but a manufacturer. The labour too which is neceffary to produce any one complete manufacture, is almost always divided among a great number of hands. How many different trades are employed in each branch of the linen and woollen manufactures, from the growers of the flax and the wool, to the bleachers and fmoothers of the linen, or to the dyers and dreffers of the cloth! The nature of agriculture, indeed, does not admit of fo many fubdivifions of labour, nor of fo complete a feparation of one business from another, as manufactures. It is impoffible to separate fo entirely, the business of
BOOK the grazier from that of the corn-farmer, as the trade of the carpenter is commonly separated from that of the fmith. The spinner is almost always a diftinct person from the weaver; but the ploughman, the harrower, the fower of the feed, and the reaper of the corn, are often the fame. The occafions for thofe different forts of labour returning with the different seasons of the year, it is impoffible that one man fhould be conftantly employed in any one of them. This impoffibility of making fo complete and entire a feparation of all the different branches of labour employed in agriculture, is perhaps the reason why the improvement of the productive powers of labour in this art, does not always keep pace with their improvement in manufactures. The most opulent nations, indeed, generally excel all their neighbours in agriculture as well as in manufactures; but they are commonly more diftinguished by their fuperiority in the latter than in the former. Their lands are in general better cultivated, and having more labour and expence bestowed upon them, produce more in propor.. tion to the extent and natural fertility of the ground. But this fuperiority of produce is feldom much more than in proportion to the fuperiority of labour and expence. In agriculture, the labour of the rich country is not always much more productive than that of the poor; or, at least, it is never fo much more productive, as it commonly is in manufactures. The corn of the rich country, therefore, will not always, in the fame degree of goodnefs, come cheaper to