Adam Smith”The effects of the division of labour” is the “greatest ‘improvement’ in the productive powers of labour” (Smith 13)Due to the division of labor, our productivity will have drastically increased.
The reason the division of labor exists is because manufacturers are “destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people” (14) and to do so efficiently, one needs a process to follow. This process involves committing oneself to a work and only that work You should not switch up what you do for a living since a “workman not educated to this business…nor acquainted with the use of machinery employed in it” (14) could possible only make one pin per day with his profession – he is not specialized in process of making pins so he should focus on his own work and bettering himself in only that work.
Additionally, Smith provides an example of ten men who were very poor but were familiar with the pin-making machinery and so they were able to make twelve pounds of pins in one day. By having some experience in what they do, they were able to increase their productivity in how many pins they were able to make, “but if they had all been wrought separately 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” (15). Thus, the division of labor creates a “proportionate increase of the productive powers of labour” (15) due to the advantage of the separation of trades and employment where an individual hones their skill in their particular trade.
Furthermore, Smith goes on to say that “it is impossible that one man should be constantly employed” (16) in the different sorts of labour of every season of the year. If you work two jobs, you will undoubtedly become “slothful” and “lazy” (19). Moreover, the most opulent nations excel at manufacturing than with agriculture as “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 so much more productive, as it commonly as in manufactures” (16). Poor countries can rival the price and goodness of the rich country’s products of agriculture, but cannot rival their manufacturing.The increase in productivity due to the division of labor is a result three things:” The increase of dexterity in every particular workman” (17)Improvement in the dexterity of a workman increases the quantity he outputs by reducing “every man’s business to some one simple operation, and by making this operation the sole employment of his life” (18).
Likewise, men work the best when their “minds is directed towards that single object”(20) – the object being their work. By focusing on this one craft, an individual will get so skilled that they will eventually become machine-like. His humanity is taken away as a result and his mental faculty becomes damaged.”The saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another” (17)Time is wasted if one passes work from one to another that is “carried on in a different place, and with quite different tools” (18). By focusing on one job, an individual is able to maximize the efficiency of his productivity. Thus, once again, you should not have two jobs or else you will become lazy.
“The invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and abridge labour, and enable one man to do the work of many” (17)By nature, men were created to trade which leads to the importance of efficient labor and eventually resulting in the creation of machines. Machines are the result of men who “naturally turned their thoughts toward finding out easier and readier methods of performing it” (20). “All the improvements in machinery, however, have by no means been the invention of those who had occasion to use the machines” (21). These imaginative inventions were created from philosophers who do nothing, yet think about everything.”The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another” (25)When man has something excess which he has no need for, but for someone else has value, man will trade since he is receiving something beneficial from a once useless product. This propensity is “common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals” (25). It is grounded in “the faculties of reason and speech” (25), which in itself, is for man’s self-interest.
Thus, “it is by treaty, by barter, and by purchase, that we obtain from one another the greater part of of those mutual good offices which we stand in need of” (27). In order to have items to trade, however, man needs a surplus of the product the makes. This “encourages every man to apply himself to a particular occupation, and to cultivate and bring to perfection whatever talent or genius he may possess for that particular species of business” (28). Without the existence of trucking, bartering, and exchanging with one another, man would otherwise have to “procure..to himself every necessary and conveniency of life which he wanted” (29).
This creates a lot of unproductivity as one will be constantly changing jobs in order to get what he wants.The division of labor will also result in a “universal opulence…which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people” (22)Every workman creates more product than he can use so he trades with other people. As a result, “a general plenty diffuses itself through all the different ranks of the society” (22). This will raise the living standards for everyone including the poor.Karl MarxThe “worker sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most wretched of commodities; that the wretchedness of the worker is in inverse proportion to the power and magnitude of his production; that the necessary result of competition is the accumulation of capital in a few hands; that finally the distinction between capitalist and land-rentier.
.. disappears and that the whole of society must fall apart into the two classes: -the property-owners and the propertyless workers.” (Marx 69)Capitalism results in a worker becoming a commodity where they can be hired or fired whenever. Most workers are replaceable so even if the worker’s life is terrible, they have to put up with it because they require the money to purchase their wants. “The worker produces capital, capital produces him – hence he produces himself, and man as worker, as a commodity, is the product of the entire cycle” (85).
The capital are the ones controlling the laborers and the laborers will be used until they cannot be used anymore. The result of capitalism are property-owners and propertyless workers where the rich stay rich and the poor get poorer. The political economy stems from capitalism and so it “does not demonstrate how they arise from the very nature of private property” (69-70) since its very nature is evil. The political economy does not “disclose the source of the division between labor and capital, and between capital and land” (70) because the capitalists want to remain wealthy and better off than the laborers. Hence, “the only wheels which political economy sets in motion are avarice and the war among the avaricious” (70) where the rich fight with one another to get even richer.
He who owns the means of production owns everything. Four modes of “estrangement” (70)ProductNature is the source of our actualized essence and it is a means of life. Without the ownership of the means of production, the more a worker works, the more likely he is able to objectify himself and reflect. But due to the ownership of the means of production existing, “the worker becomes all the more poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and rage” (71). The worker “puts his life” (72) into the making of an object that does not belong to him, but to capitalism, and the more he keeps producing it, the more he “falls under the dominion of his product, capital” (71). The laborer’s product is “something alien, as a power independent of the producer” (71). As a result, the worker experiences a “loss of reality” (71) and cannot end up being the thing that he is meant to be and so his growth is stopped short. The worker becomes a “slave of his object” (72) since he receives work.
which is an object of labor. and because he also receives a mean of subsistence. which is also an object of labor.Process – estrangement occurs in the “act of production” (73)Due to the ownership of the means of production, the work that the worker completes is “forced” (74) and “is not his own, but someone else’s” (74). He only does this work because it is a means to satisfaction.”Species” (77)Before the ownership of the means of production, everything a worker created is for his species (humanity) and only for his species.
A concrete universal is a individual producing for everyone. However, the ownership of the means of production caused the power of self-creation to be repetitive. “Estranged labor turns thus…man’s species being, into a being alien to him, into a means to his individual existence” (77-78). The work the worker does is now only for himself, and never for another, let alone a species.
Other – “only man himself can be this alien power over man” (79)Before the ownership of the means of production, there is no recognition of man to man. Man does not exist in one’s eyes as they are one, but because of the ownership of the means of production, others are viewed as a commodity or as competition – either you can be used and benefit me or you are in my way and I need to eliminate you.”Wages are a direct consequence of estranged labor, and estranged labor is the direct cause of private property” (82)Wages are a result of estranged labor which in part causes private property.
Thus, wages are bad in a sense since it correlates with money. Money is an object that controls one’s “life and their means of life” (136). With money, one can do and achieve anything and everything that he is not. Hence, those with money “possess all human capacities” (138).
Money is ultimately not only the “alienated ability of mankind” (138), but is also the “real essential powers of man and nature” (139).Adam Smith & Karl Marx Smith believed that the division of labor is harmful, yet beneficial. An individual is able to be more productive, but at the same time, he is damaging his mental faculties and ultimately his humanity. Smith also states that wealth is not associated with the status you are born into, or the education you may have – if you work hard, you can become wealthy. This is due to the assumption that an individual is supposedly able to take home what he produces, trade his surpluses, and contribute to the general opulence of the world. This is far from reality, however, since it is considered stealing for one to take home everything they produce at work and no matter how much a poor person works, he is still making minimum-like wage while the rich are making several figures. Smith believes in the idea of the “invisible hand” where individuals can sell their surpluses to other individuals at any price they desire.
The consumer will either think the price is worth it and buys it or think it is not worth it and buys from someone else. This will naturally regulate the market without need of government intervention. On the other hand, Marx believed that labor and the ownership of the means of production are harmful to humans and their humanity.
The rich own the means to production and will inevitably exploit the poor since money controls everything and everyone. This makes it difficult for a poor person to become rich since the only thing they have going for them is their labor, which the wealthy will abuse. For Marx, humans are meant to be something much more than just workers who constantly repeat the same duties everyday.
They are meant to a form of self-recreation and continual re-creation. For Marx, capitalism would eventually be overthrown during a revolution where the proletariat create a system where labor is not exploited. He envisioned a world where the everyone owned the means of production and not just the rich – this world is known as communism.