AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES
OF THE
WEALTH OF NATIONS

BOOK I

OF THE CAUSES OF IMPROVEMENT IN THE PRODUCTIVE POWER
OF LABOUR AND OF THE ORDER ACCORDING TO WHICH
ITS PRODUCE IS NATURALLY DISTRIBUTED AMONG
THE DIFFERENT RANKS OF THE PEOPLE.

CHAPTER I

Of the Division of Labour

THE greatest improvement in the productive powers of
labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and
judgment with which it is anywhere directed, or ap-
plied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.

The effects of the division of labour, in the general business
of society, will be more easily understood by considering in
what manner it operates in some particular manufactures.
It is commonly supposed to be carried furthest in some 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 destined to supply the small wants of
but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen
must necessarily be small; and those employed in every dif-
ferent branch of the work can often be collected into the
same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the
spectator.

In those great manufactures, on the contrary, which
are destined to supply the great wants of the great body
of the people, every different branch of the work em-
ploys so great a number of workmen that it is impossible to
collect them all into the same workhouse. We can seldom see

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