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10     WEALTH OF NATIONS

more, at one time, than those employed in one
single branch. Though in such manufactures, therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts
than in those of a more trifling nature, the division is not near so obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.

To take an example, therefore, from a very trifling manufacture; but one in which the division of labour has been very often
taken notice of, the trade of the pin-maker; a workman not educated to this business (which the division of labour has
rendered a distinct trade), nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the same
division of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin in a day, and
certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this business 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 likewise 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 two or three distinct 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 business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen
distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will
sometimes perform two or three of them. I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed,
and where some of them consequently performed two or three distinct operations. But though they were very poor, and
therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary 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 size.
Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore,
making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But
if they had all 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; that is, certainly, not the two hundred
and fortieth, perhaps not the four thousand eight hundredth part of what they are at present capable of performing, in
consequence of a proper division and combination of their different operations.

In every other art and manufacture, the effects of the division of labour are similar to what they are in this very trifling one;
though, in many of them, the labour can neither be so much subdivided, nor reduced to so great a simplicity of operation. The
division of labour, however, so far as it can be introduced, occasions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive
powers of labour. The separation of different trades and employments from one another seems to have taken place in
consequence of this advantage. This separation, too, is generally called furthest in those countries which enjoy the highest
degree of industry and improvement; what is the work of one man in a rude state of society being generally that of several in
an improved one. In every improved society, the farmer is generally nothing but a farmer; the manufacturer, nothing but a
manufacturer. The labour, too, which is necessary 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 smoothers of the linen, or to the dyers and dressers of the cloth!
The nature of agriculture, indeed, does not admit of so many subdivisions of labour, nor of so complete a separation of one
business from another, as manufactures. It is impossible to separate so entirely the business of the grazier from that of the
corn-farmer as the trade of the carpenter is commonly separated from that of the smith. The spinner is almost always a distinct
person from the weaver; but the ploughman, the harrower, the sower of the seed, and the reaper of the corn, are often the
same. The occasions for those different sorts of labour returning with the different seasons of the year, it is impossible that one
man should be constantly employed in any one of them. This impossibility of making so complete and entire a separation 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 distinguished by their
superiority in the latter than in the former. Their lands are in general better cultivated, and having more labour and expense
bestowed upon them, produce more in proportion to the extent and natural fertility of the ground. But this superiority of
produce is seldom much more than in proportion to the superiority of labour and expense. 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 is in manufactures. The corn of the rich country, therefore, will not always, in the same degree of goodness, come
cheaper to market than that of the poor. The corn of Poland, in the same degree of goodness, is as cheap as that of France,
notwithstanding the superior opulence and improvement of the latter country. The corn of France is, in the corn provinces,
fully as good, and in most years nearly about the same price with the corn of England, though, in opulence and improvement,
France is perhaps inferior to England. The corn-lands of England, however, are better cultivated than those of France, and the
corn-lands of France are said to be much better cultivated than those of Poland. But though the poor country, notwithstanding
the inferiority of its cultivation, can, in some measure, rival the rich in the cheapness and goodness of its corn, it can pretend to
no such competition in its manufactures; at least if those manufactures suit the soil, climate, and situation of the rich country.
The silks of France are better and cheaper than those of England, because the silk manufacture, at least under the present high
duties upon the importation of raw silk, does not so well suit the climate of England as that of France. But the hardware and
the coarse woollens of England are beyond all comparison superior to those of France, and much cheaper too in the same
degree of goodness. In Poland there are said to be scarce any manufactures of any kind, a few of those coarser household
manufactures excepted, without which no country can well subsist.

This great increase of the quantity of work which, in consequence of the division of labour, the same number of people are
capable of performing, is owing to three different circumstances; first, to the increase of dexterity in every particular workman;
secondly, to the saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another; and lastly, to the
invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and abridge labour, and enable one man to do the work of many.

First, the improvement of the dexterity of the workman necessarily increases the quantity of the work he can perform; and the
division of labour, by reducing every man's business to some one simple operation, and by making this operation the sole
employment of his life, necessarily increased very much dexterity of the workman. A common smith, who, though accustomed
to handle the hammer, has never been used to make nails, if upon some particular occasion he is obliged to attempt it, will
scarce, I am assured, be able to make above two or three hundred nails in a day, and those too very bad ones. A smith who
has been accustomed to make nails, but whose sole or principal business has not been that of a nailer, can seldom with his
utmost diligence make more than eight hundred or a thousand nails in a day. I have seen several boys under twenty years of
age who had never exercised any other trade but that of making nails, and who, when they exerted themselves, could make,
each of them, upwards of two thousand three hundred nails in a day. The making of a nail, however, is by no means one of
the simplest operations. The same person blows the bellows, stirs or mends the fire as there is occasion, heats the iron, and
forges every part of the nail: in forging the head too he is obliged to change his tools. The different operations into which the
making of a pin, or of a metal button, is subdivided, are all of them much more simple, and the dexterity of the person, of
whose life it has been the sole business to perform them, is usually much greater. The rapidity with which some of the
operations of those manufacturers are performed, exceeds what the human hand could, by those who had never seen them,
be supposed capable of acquiring.

Secondly, the advantage which is gained by saving the time commonly lost in passing from one sort of work to another is
much greater than we should at first view be apt to imagine it. It is impossible to pass very quickly from one kind of work to
another that is carried on in a different place and with quite different tools. A country weaver, who cultivates a small farm,
must lose a good deal of time in passing from his loom to the field, and from the field to his loom. When the two trades can be
carried on in the same workhouse, the loss of time is no doubt much less. It is even in this case, however, very considerable.
A man commonly saunters a little in turning his hand from one sort of employment to another. When he first begins the new
work he is seldom very keen and hearty; his mind, as they say, does not go to it, and for some time he rather trifles than
applies to good purpose. The habit of sauntering and of indolent careless application, which is naturally, or rather necessarily
acquired by every country workman who is obliged to change his work and his tools every half hour, and to apply his hand in
twenty different ways almost every day of his life, renders him almost always slothful and lazy, and incapable of any vigorous
application even on the most pressing occasions. Independent, therefore, of his deficiency in point of dexterity, this cause
alone must always reduce considerably the quantity of work which he is capable of performing.

Thirdly, and lastly, everybody must be sensible how much labour is facilitated and abridged by the application of proper
machinery. It is unnecessary to give any example. I shall only observe, therefore, that the invention of all those machines by
which labour is so much facilitated and abridged seems to have been originally owing to the division of labour. Men are much
more likely to discover easier and readier methods of attaining any object when the whole attention of their minds is directed
towards that single object than when it is dissipated among a great variety of things. But in consequence of the division of
labour, the whole of every man's attention comes naturally to be directed towards some one very simple object. It is naturally
to be expected, therefore, that some one or other of those who are employed in each particular branch of labour should soon
find out easier and readier methods of performing their own particular work, wherever the nature of it admits of such
improvement. A great part of the machines made use of in those manufactures in which labour is most subdivided, were
originally the inventions of common workmen, who, being each of them employed in some very simple operation, naturally
turned their thoughts towards finding out easier and readier methods of performing it. Whoever has been much accustomed to
visit such manufactures must frequently have been shown very pretty machines, which were the inventions of such workmen in
order to facilitate and quicken their particular part of the work. In the first fire-engines, a boy was constantly employed to
open and shut alternately the communication between the boiler and the cylinder, according as the piston either ascended or
descended. One of those boys, who loved to play with his companions, observed that, by tying a string from the handle of the
valve which opened this communication to another part of the machine, the valve would open and shut without his assistance,
and leave him at liberty to divert himself with his playfellows. One of the greatest improvements that has been made upon this
machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner the discovery of a boy who wanted to save his own labour.

All the improvements in machinery, however, have by no means been the inventions of those who had occasion to use the
machines. Many improvements have been made by the ingenuity of the makers of the machines, when to make them became
the business of a peculiar trade; and some by that of those who are called philosophers or men of speculation, whose trade it
is not to do anything, but to observe everything; and who, upon that account, are often capable of combining together the
powers of the most distant and dissimilar objects. In the progress of society, philosophy or speculation becomes, like every
other employment, the principal or sole trade and occupation of a particular class of citizens. Like every other employment
too, it is subdivided into a great number of different branches, each of which affords occupation to a peculiar tribe or class of
philosophers; and this subdivision of employment in philosophy, as well as in every other business, improves dexterity, and
saves time. Each individual becomes more expert in his own peculiar branch, more work is done upon the whole, and the
quantity of science is considerably increased by it.

It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which
occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Every
workman has a great quantity of his own work to dispose of beyond what he himself has occasion for; and every other
workman being exactly in the same situation, he is enabled to exchange a great quantity of his own goods for a great quantity,
or, what comes to the same thing, for the price of a great quantity of theirs. He supplies them abundantly with what they have
occasion for, and they accommodate him as amply with what he has occasion for, and a general plenty diffuses itself through
all the different ranks of the society.

Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day-labourer in a civilised and thriving country, and you will
perceive that the number of people of whose industry a part, though but a small part, has been employed in procuring him this
accommodation, exceeds all computation. The woollen coat, for example, which covers the day-labourer, as coarse and
rough as it may appear, is the produce of the joint labour of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the sorter of the
wool, the wool-comber or carder, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, with many others,
must all join their different arts in order to complete even this homely production. How many merchants and carriers, besides,
must have been employed in transporting the materials from some of those workmen to others who often live in a very distant
part of the country! How much commerce and navigation in particular, how many ship-builders, sailors, sail-makers,
rope-makers, must have been employed in order to bring together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often
come from the remotest corners of the world! What a variety of labour, too, is necessary in order to produce the tools of the
meanest of those workmen! To say nothing of such complicated machines as the ship of the sailor, the mill of the fuller, or
even the loom of the weaver, let us consider only what a variety of labour is requisite in order to form that very simple
machine, the shears with which the shepherd clips the wool. The miner, the builder of the furnace for smelting the ore, the
seller of the timber, the burner of the charcoal to be made use of in the smelting-house, the brickmaker, the brick-layer, the
workmen who attend the furnace, the mill-wright, the forger, the smith, must all of them join their different arts in order to
produce them. Were we to examine, in the same manner, all the different parts of his dress and household furniture, the coarse
linen shirt which he wears next his skin, the shoes which cover his feet, the bed which he lies on, and all the different parts
which compose it, the kitchen-grate at which he prepares his victuals, the coals which he makes use of for that purpose, dug
from the bowels of the earth, and brought to him perhaps by a long sea and a long land carriage, all the other utensils of his
kitchen, all the furniture of his table, the knives and forks, the earthen or pewter plates upon which he serves up and divides
his victuals, the different hands employed in preparing his bread and his beer, the glass window which lets in the heat and the
light, and keeps out the wind and the rain, with all the knowledge and art requisite for preparing that beautiful and happy
invention, without which these northern parts of the world could scarce have afforded a very comfortable habitation, together
with the tools of all the different workmen employed in producing those different conveniences; if we examine, I say, all these
things, and consider what a variety of labour is employed about each of them, we shall be sensible that, without the assistance
and co-operation of many thousands, the very meanest person in a civilised country could not be provided, even according to
what we very falsely imagine the easy and simple manner in which he is commonly accommodated. Compared, indeed, with
the more extravagant luxury of the great, his accommodation must no doubt appear extremely simple and easy; and yet it may
be true, perhaps, that the accommodation of a European prince does not always so much exceed that of an industrious and
frugal peasant as the accommodation of the latter exceeds that of many an African king, the absolute master of the lives and
liberties of ten thousand naked savages.

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