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apportionment of the several processes in the trade among men, women, and children, according to the force and ability requisite to the performance of each
The same principle is in operation in the cotton, flax, and woollen manufactures, in the employment of adult and infant labour. It is the same in agricultural industry. The ploughman and thatcher do not usually lose their time in gathering stones and weeding the corn-labour more appropriately left to women and children.
In intellectual pursuits there is a corresponding gradation of occupation, and according to the diversities of taste and ability men devote themselves to the cultivation of poetry, mathematics, natural philosophy, and jurisprudence. As society advances the divisions of employment become more minute. Chemistry becomes a distinct science from natural philosophy; the physical astronomer separates himself from the astronomical observer; the political economist from the politician, and the legislator from both. Like subdivisions have been introduced in the legal and medical professions: the vocation of a barrister is distinct from that of the conveyancer, equity draftsman, attorney, and solicitor; as that of a physician is from a surgeon, apothecary or druggist. Each confining himself to his peculiar branch of science or business, attains to a proficiency and expertness therein which would be hardly possible were his time consumed and attention distracted by greater variety of pursuits. It follows that the ex
a Bacon or Crichton can be emulated
with difficulty; when knowledge was less perfect, and not so divided, men might more easily aspire to the honour of universal science or scholarship; but the standard of excellence in any one department is now fixed so high, that to reach it is usually deemed sufficient to occupy the ordinary term of exist
The degree of refinement a community has attained may be measured by the extent to which the division of employments has been carried. In a rude state of society every man endeavours to supply by his own industry his own occasional wants as they occur. “ When he is hungry, he goes to the forest to hunt; when his coat is worn out, he clothes himself with the skin of the first large animal he kills; and when his hut begins to go to ruin, he repairs it as well as he can with the trees and the turf that are nearest it. As each tries only to satisfy his individual wants, no one has a surplus to barter with his neighbour.” This state of society, however, must have been of short duration, as the variety in men’s natural dispositions and talents would soon suggest the utility of each devoting himself to the occupation for which he was most competent; and, as the produce of his industry would exceed his necessities, he would have a surplus to exchange for the surplus of another differently employed. A general system of barter would thus be introduced; a demand would exist for commodities, and, of course, every expedient that facilitated their production, whether division of labour, or the invention of tools and machines, would be encouraged.
It is the demand for the products of industry that has promoted these minute subdivisions of labour that distinguish rich and civilized communities. The divisions of employment in the making of pins, for instance, could not be carried on as at present, were there not a great consumption of this useful implement. The ten persons now employed in executing the different processes in the art would make probably fifty thousand pins per day. If the demand for pins did not equal this amount, the ten persons could not be employed, and the several branches of the trade could not be distributed so as to be executed in the least expensive and most efficient manner.
Watchmaking is another striking illustration of the principle that the division of labour is limited by the extent of the market, or, in other words, the demand for its products. From the inquiries of a parliamentary committee, it appears there are one hundred and two distinct branches in this trade, each having its separate class of workmen; and that, with the exception of the watch-finishers, whose business is to put together the several parts of a watch, not one of the classes can work at any other than his own particular employment. Now it is plain, if the demand for watches were not at least sufficient to occupy one hundred and two persons, this minute division of occupation could not be supported, and watches would neither be so cheap nor so well executed. The same cause is in operation in almost every department of trade and business: they are all consolidated or divided according as the market is more or less extensive. In a village or small town, for instance, it is common to find the business of a draper, grocer, cheesemonger, and poulterer, all carried on in one establishment, the demand not being extensive enough to maintain a shopkeeper in each line of business. Again, there are some sorts of industry that can be carried on nowhere but in a great city. A porter, shoeblack, or hackney-coachman, can find employment and subsistence in no other place. A village, or ordinary market-town, would be too narrow a sphere to afford them constant occupation. It is impossible there should be such a trade as a nailer in a small place : such a workman, at the rate of a thousand nails a day, and three hundred working days in the year, will make three hundred thousand nails per annum. But, perhaps in a twelvemonth he would not sell more than one thousand, leaving the market of nails greatly overstocked, and, of course, the price of them ruinously low.
Origin of Money– Inconveniences of Barter-Advantages of
Gold and Silver as Instruments of Exchange-Effects of an Increase or Diminution in the Supply of the Precious Metals -Forcible Alteration of the Standard of Value.
After each man had begun to occupy himself with a separate trade, the produce of his labour would exceed his consumption. Of the commodity :e made he would have more than enough, while of the commodities made by others he would be deficient. As every individual would be similarly situated, the utility of a mutual exchange of surpluses would soon be apparent. Those who pursued the chase might be overstocked with venison, which they would be glad to exchange for a supply of fish; or the maker of bows and arrows might be willing to make an exchange with the maker of some domestic utensil, a wooden bowl, an earthen pot, or stone-hatchet. Barter would become the general fashion of the tribe; from a community of producers, they would, by the introduction of divisions of employment, become a community of exchangers, entering on the first stage of commercial prosperity.
Barter alone, however, would soon be found to be accompanied with two inconveniences : first, it might not be always easy to find a person who had the commodity you wanted, and who was willing to