Adam Smith "Wealth of Nations" The benefit of division of labor to society.

Essay by Unknown450University, Bachelor'sA+, January 2004

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Adam Smith is often accused of propounding an economic

theory based solely on self-interest and individual welfare,

however Smith's own writings indicate that this is not the

case. Smith sees that his ideas surrounding the division of

labor will not only benefit the individuals in control of

production, but society as a whole. In Book Three of The

Wealth of Nations Smith writes:

"The gains of both are mutual and reciprocal,

and the division of labor is in this, as in all

other cases, advantageous to all the different

persons employed in the various occupations into

which it is subdivided."

All those involved in this division of labor benefit from

this system in some way. Smith goes on to write that when

workers do not receive benefits from their labors the owners

of the land or means of production will not see improvement

in their stock. Therefore it is to everyone's benefit for

those who work in production to be treated well and given

more then simple substance, but education and luxury items

as well.

In order for an individual proprietor to be

successful he must consider the welfare of his employees

and, therefore, he cannot be focused on himself as some

believe Smith's ideas propose.

While Smith does not focus on the self-interest aspect

of economy he does acknowledge that a certain amount of

self-interest in inherent to any economy. Smith writes:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher,

the brewer, or the baker that we expect our

dinner, but from their regard to their own


However benevolence does spring out from this self-interest.

Consumers have needs and they are willing to pay to have

those needs fulfilled. Producers seeking payment supply

those needs at a price the consumer is able to pay.

Another element of...