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The division of labour is the separation of tasks in any
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the co ...
or
organisation An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...

organisation
so that participants may specialise (specialisation). Individuals, organizations, and nations are endowed with or acquire specialised capabilities and either form combinations or trade to take advantage of the capabilities of others in addition to their own. Specialised capabilities may include equipment or
natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Se ...
s as well as skills and training and combinations of such assets acting together are often important. For example, an individual may specialise by acquiring tools and the skills to use them effectively just as an organization may specialize by acquiring specialised equipment and hiring or training skilled operators. The division of labour is the motive for
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
and the source of
economic interdependence Economic interdependence is a consequence of specialization or the division of labor, division of labour. The participants in any economic system must belong to a trading network or organization to obtain the products they cannot produce efficientl ...
. Historically, an increasing division of labour is associated with the growth of total
output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computing, input/output (I/O, or informally io or IO) is the communication between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world, pos ...
and
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
, the rise of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within ...

capitalism
, and the increasing complexity of
industrialised Factories, refineries, mines, and agribusiness are all elements of industrialisation Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian societ ...

industrialised
processes. The concept and implementation of division of labour has been observed in ancient
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native (local, noble) lor ...

Sumer
ian (
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
n) culture, where assignment of jobs in some cities coincided with an increase in trade and economic interdependence. Division of labour generally also increases both producer and individual worker productivity. After the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (Americ ...
, pastoralism and agriculture led to more reliable and abundant food supplies, which increased the population and led to specialisation of labour, including new classes of artisans, warriors, and the development of elites. This specialistion was furthered by the process of
industrialisation Factories, refineries, mines, and agribusiness are all elements of industrialisation Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian societ ...

industrialisation
, and
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
-era factories. Accordingly, many classical economists as well as some mechanical engineers such as
Charles Babbage Charles Babbage (; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer. Babbage is considered ...

Charles Babbage
were proponents of division of labour. Also, having workers perform single or limited tasks eliminated the long training period required to train craftsmen, who were replaced with lesser paid but more productive unskilled workers.


Ancient theories


Plato

In
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
's ''
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature ...
'', the origin of the state lies in the natural
inequality Inequality may refer to: Economics * Attention inequality Attention inequality is a term used to target the inequality of distribution of attention across users on social networks, people in general, and for scientific papers. Yun Family Foundat ...
of humanity, which is embodied in the division of labour: Silvermintz (2010) notes that "Historians of economic thought credit Plato, primarily on account of arguments advanced in his Republic, as an early proponent of the division of labour." Notwithstanding this, Silvermintz argues that "While Plato recognises both the economic and political benefits of the division of labour, he ultimately critiques this form of economic arrangement insofar as it hinders the individual from ordering his own soul by cultivating acquisitive motives over prudence and reason."


Xenophon

Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens monta ...

Xenophon
, in the 4th century BC, makes a passing reference to division of labour in his ''
Cyropaedia The ''Cyropaedia'', sometimes spelled ''Cyropedia'', is a partly fictional biography of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also calle ...
'' (a.k.a. ''Education of Cyrus'').


Ibn Khaldun

The 14th-century scholar
Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; ar, أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, ; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , ...
emphasised the importance of the division of labour in the production process. In his ''
Muqaddimah The ''Muqaddimah'', also known as the ''Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun'' ( ar, مقدّمة ابن خلدون) or ''Ibn Khaldun's Prolegomena'' ( grc, Προλεγόμενα), is a book written by the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; a ...
'', he states:


Modern theories


William Petty

Sir
William Petty Sir William Petty Royal Society, FRS (26 May 1623 – 16 December 1687) was an English economist, physician, scientist and philosopher. He first became prominent serving Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth of England, Commonwealth in Ireland. ...

William Petty
was the first modern writer to take note of the division of labour, showing its existence and usefulness in Dutch
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, ...

shipyard
s. Classically the workers in a
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, ...

shipyard
would build ships as units, finishing one before starting another. But the Dutch had it organised with several teams each doing the same tasks for successive ships. People with a particular task to do must have discovered new methods that were only later observed and justified by writers on
political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
. Petty also applied the principle to his survey of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in ...

Ireland
. His breakthrough was to divide up the work so that large parts of it could be done by people with no extensive training.


Bernard de Mandeville

Bernard de Mandeville Bernard Mandeville, or Bernard de Mandeville (; 15 November 1670 – 21 January 1733), was an Anglo-Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist. Born in Rotterdam Rotterdam (, , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human ...

Bernard de Mandeville
discusses the matter in the second volume of ''
The Fable of the Bees ''The Fable of The Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits'' (1714) is a book by the Anglo-Dutch social philosopher Bernard Mandeville. It consists of the satirical poem ''The Grumbling Hive: or, Knaves turn'd Honest'', which was first publish ...
'' (1714). This elaborates many matters raised by the original poem about a 'Grumbling Hive'. He says:


David Hume

- David Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature


Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau

In his introduction to ''The Art of the Pin-Maker'' (''Art de l'Épinglier'', 1761), du Monceau, Henri-Louis Duhamel. 1761. "
Introduction Introduction, The Introduction, Intro, or The Intro may refer to: General use * Introduction (music), an opening section of a piece of music * Introduction (writing), a beginning section to a book, article or essay which states its purpose and go ...
." In ''Art de l'Épinglier'', by R. Réaumur, and A. de Ferchault. Paris: Saillant et Nyon.
Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau (20 July 1700, Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2 ...
writes about the "division of this work": By "division of this work," du Monceau is referring to the subdivisions of the text describing the various trades involved in the pin making activity; this can also be described as a division of labour.


Adam Smith

In the first sentence of '''' (1776),
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
foresaw the essence of industrialism by determining that division of labour represents a substantial increase in productivity. Like du Monceau, his example was the making of pins. Unlike
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
, Smith famously argued that the difference between a street porter and a philosopher was as much a consequence of the division of labour as its cause. Therefore, while for Plato the level of specialisation determined by the division of labour was externally determined, for Smith it was the dynamic engine of economic progress. However, in a further chapter of the same book, Smith criticises the division of labour saying it can lead to "the almost entire corruption and degeneracy of the great body of the people.…unless the government takes some pains to prevent it." The contradiction has led to some debate over Smith's opinion of the division of labour.
Alexis de Tocqueville#REDIRECT Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville (; 29 July 180516 April 1859), colloquially known as Tocqueville (), was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher and historia ...

Alexis de Tocqueville
agreed with Smith: "Nothing tends to materialize man, and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind, more than extreme division of labor."
Adam Ferguson Adam Ferguson, FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be "eminently distingu ...
shared similar views to Smith, though was generally more negative. The specialisation and concentration of the workers on their single subtasks often leads to greater skill and greater productivity on their particular subtasks than would be achieved by the same number of workers each carrying out the original broad task. Smith uses the example of a production capability of an individual pin maker compared to a manufacturing business that employed 10 men:
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.
Smith saw the importance of matching skills with equipment—usually in the context of an
organisation An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...

organisation
. For example, pin makers were organised with one making the head, another the body, each using different equipment. Similarly, he emphasised a large number of skills, used in cooperation and with suitable equipment, were required to build a ship. In the modern economic discussion, the term ''
human capital Human capital is a concept used by human resource professionals to designate personal attributes considered useful in the production process. It encompasses employee knowledge, skill, skills, know-how, good health, and education, to name a few. ...

human capital
'' would be used. Smith's insight suggests that the huge increases in productivity obtainable from
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of any Art techniques and materials, techniques, skills, Scientific method, methods, and Business ...

technology
or technological progress are possible because human and physical capital are matched, usually in an organisation. See also a short discussion of Adam Smith's theory in the context of
business processes A business process, business method or business function is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks by people or equipment in which a specific sequence produces a service or product (serves a particular business goal) for a partic ...
.
Babbage Charles Babbage (; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...

Babbage
wrote a seminal work "On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures" analysing perhaps for the first time the division of labour in factories.


Immanuel Kant

In the '' Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals'' (1785),
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethi ...

Immanuel Kant
notes the value of the division of labour:
All crafts, trades and arts have profited from the division of labour; for when each worker sticks to one particular kind of work that needs to be handled differently from all the others, he can do it better and more easily than when one person does everything. Where work is not thus differentiated and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, the crafts remain at an utterly primitive level.


Karl Marx

Marx argued that increasing the specialisation may also lead to workers with poorer overall skills and a lack of enthusiasm for their work. He described the process as alienation: workers become more and more specialised and work becomes repetitive, eventually leading to complete alienation from the process of production. The worker then becomes "depressed spiritually and physically to the condition of a machine." Additionally, Marx argued that the division of labour creates less-skilled workers. As the work becomes more specialised, less training is needed for each specific job, and the workforce, overall, is less skilled than if one worker did one job entirely. Among Marx's theoretical contributions is his sharp distinction between the economic and the social division of labour. That is, some forms of labour co-operation are purely due to "technical necessity", but others are a result of a "social control" function related to a class and status hierarchy. If these two divisions are conflated, it might appear as though the existing division of labour is technically inevitable and immutable, rather than (in good part) socially constructed and influenced by
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
relationships. He also argues that in a
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
society, the division of labour is transcended, meaning that balanced human development occurs where people fully express their nature in the variety of creative work that they do.


Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817May 6, 1862) was an American naturalist, essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a Letter (message), ...

Henry David Thoreau
criticised the division of labour in ''
Walden ''Walden'' (; first published in 1854 as ''Walden; or, Life in the Woods'') is a book by American transcendentalism, transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau. The text is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. The work is ...

Walden
'' (1854), on the basis that it removes people from a sense of connectedness with society and with the world at large, including nature. He claimed that the average man in a civilised society is less wealthy, in practice than one in "savage" society. The answer he gave was that
self-sufficiency Self-sustainability and self-sufficiency are overlapping states of being in which a person or organization needs little or no help from, or interaction with, others. Self-sufficiency entails the self being enough (to fulfill needs), and a self-sus ...
was enough to cover one's basic needs. Thoreau's friend and mentor,
Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionism, abolitionist and poet who led the Transcendentalism, transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th c ...

Ralph Waldo Emerson
, criticised the division of labour in his "
The American Scholar :''For the publication of Phi Beta Kappa, see The American Scholar (magazine)''. "The American Scholar" was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an Amer ...
" speech: a widely informed,
holistic Holism (from Ancient Greek, Greek ''holos'' "all, whole, entire") is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in hi ...
citizenry is vital for the spiritual and physical health of the country.


Émile Durkheim

In his seminal work, ''
The Division of Labor in Society ''The Division of Labour in Society'' (french: De la division du travail social) is the doctoral dissertation of the French sociologist Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist ...
'',
Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and, with Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a Ge ...

Émile Durkheim
observes that the division of labour appears in all societies and positively correlates with societal advancement because it increases as a society progresses. Durkheim arrived at the same conclusion regarding the positive effects of the division of labour as his theoretical predecessor,
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
. In ''The Wealth of the Nations'', Smith observes the division of labour results in "a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour." While they shared this belief, Durkheim believed the division of labour applied to all "biological organisms generally," while Smith believed this law applied "only to human societies."Jones, Robert. 1986. ''Emile Durkheim: An Introduction to Four Major Works.'' Beverly Hills, CA:
Sage Publications SAGE Publishing, formerly SAGE Publications, is an American independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, ...
. Print.
This difference may result from the influence of
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English , and , best known for his contributions to the science of . His proposition that all species of life have descended from is now widely accepted and cons ...

Charles Darwin
's ''
On the Origin of Species ''On the Origin of Species'' (or, more completely, ''On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' on Durkheim's writings. For example, Durkheim observed an apparent relationship between "the functional specialisation of the parts of an organism" and "the extent of that organism's evolutionary development," which he believed "extended the scope of the division of labour so as to make its origins contemporaneous with the origins of life itself…implying that its conditions must be found in the essential properties of all organised matter." Since Durkheim's division of labour applied to all organisms, he considered it a "
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
" and worked to determine whether it should be embraced or resisted by first analysing its functions. Durkheim hypothesised that the division of labour fosters
social solidarity Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes.''Merriam Webster'', http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solidarity. It refers to the ties ...
, yielding "a wholly moral phenomenon" that ensures "mutual relationships" among individuals.Durkheim, Emile. 8931997. ''
The Division of Labor in Society ''The Division of Labour in Society'' (french: De la division du travail social) is the doctoral dissertation of the French sociologist Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist ...
.'' New York: The Free Press. Print.
As social solidarity cannot be directly quantified, Durkheim indirectly studies solidarity by "classifythe different types of law to find...the different types of social solidarity which correspond to it." Durkheim categorises: Anderson, Margaret L. and Howard F. Taylor. 2008. ''Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society.'' Belmont, CA:
Thomson Wadsworth Cengage is an American educational Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storyt ...
. Print.
*
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its env ...
s and their respective punishments as promoting mechanical solidarity, a sense of unity resulting from individuals engaging in similar work who hold shared backgrounds, traditions, and values; and * civil laws as promoting organic solidarity, a society in which individuals engage in different kinds of work that benefit society and other individuals. Durkheim believes that
organic solidarityIn sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, empiri ...
prevails in more advanced societies, while mechanical solidarity typifies less developed societies. He explains that in societies with more mechanical solidarity, the diversity and division of labour is much less, so individuals have a similar worldview. Similarly, Durkheim opines that in societies with more organic solidarity, the diversity of occupations is greater, and individuals depend on each other more, resulting in greater benefits to society as a whole. Durkheim's work enabled
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
to progress more efficiently "in…the understanding of human social behavior."


Ludwig von Mises

Marx's theories, including his negative claims regarding the division of labour, have been criticised by the
Austrian economists The Austrian School is a heterodox In religion, heterodoxy (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...
, notably
Ludwig von Mises Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was an Austrian School The Austrian School is a heterodox In religion, heterodoxy (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek languag ...

Ludwig von Mises
. The primary argument is that the economic gains accruing from the division of labour far outweigh the costs. It is argued that it is fully possible to achieve balanced human development within
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within ...

capitalism
and alienation is downplayed as mere romantic fiction. According to
Mises Mises or von Mises may refer to: ...

Mises
, the idea has led to the concept of
mechanization Mechanization is the process of changing from working largely or exclusively by hand or with animals to doing that work with machinery. In an early engineering text a machine is defined as follows: In some fields, mechanization includes the ...
in which a specific task is performed by a mechanical device, instead of an individual labourer. This method of production is significantly more effective in both yield and
cost-effectiveness Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is a form of economic analysis that compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of different courses of action. Cost-effectiveness analysis is distinct from cost–benefit analysis, which assigns a monetar ...
, and utilises the division of labour to the fullest extent possible.
Mises Mises or von Mises may refer to: ...

Mises
saw the very idea of a task being performed by a specialised mechanical device as being the greatest achievement of division of labour.


Friedrich A. Hayek

In "
The Use of Knowledge in Society "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek Friedrich August von Hayek ( , ; 8 May 189923 March 1992), often referred to by his initials F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian-British economist An e ...
", Friedrich A. Hayek states:


Globalisation and global division of labour

The issue reaches its broadest scope in the controversies about
globalisation Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalisation
, which is often interpreted as a euphemism for the expansion of
international trade International trade is the exchange of capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscul ...
based on
comparative advantage In an economic model In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics) ...

comparative advantage
. This would mean that countries specialise in the work they can do at the lowest relative cost measured in terms of the
opportunity cost In microeconomic theory Microeconomics (from Greek prefix ''mikro-'' meaning "small" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Produc ...
of not using resources for other work, compared to the opportunity costs experienced countries. Critics, however, allege that international specialisation cannot be explained sufficiently in terms of "the work nations do best", rather this specialisation is guided more by
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

commercial
criteria, which favour some countries over others. The
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
advised in June 2005 that: Few studies have taken place regarding the global division of labour. Information can be drawn from
ILO The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations a ...
and national statistical offices. In one study, Deon Filmer estimated that 2.474 billion people participated in the global non-domestic
labour force The workforce or labour force is the labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or b ...
in the mid-1990s. Of these: * around 15%, or 379 million people, worked in the industry; * a third, or 800 million worked in services and * over 40%, or 1,074 million, in agriculture. The majority of workers in industry and services were wage and salary earners—58 percent of the industrial workforce and 65 percent of the services workforce. But a big portion was self-employed or involved in family labour. Filmer suggests the total of employees worldwide in the 1990s was about 880 million, compared with around a billion working on own account on the land (mainly peasants), and some 480 million working on own account in industry and services. The 2007
ILO The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations a ...
Global Employment Trends Report indicated that services have surpassed agriculture for the first time in human history:
In 2006 the service sector’s share of global employment overtook agriculture for the first time, increasing from 39.5 to 40 percent. Agriculture decreased from 39.7 percent to 38.7 percent. The industry sector accounted for 21.3 percent of total employment.


Contemporary theories

In the modern world, those specialists most preoccupied in their work with theorising about the division of labour are those involved in
management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spok ...

management
and
organisation An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...

organisation
. In general, in , such things are not decided consciously. Different people try different things, and that which is most effective cost-wise (produces the most and best output with the least input) will generally be adopted. Often techniques that work in one place or time do not work as well in another.


Styles of division of labour

Two styles of management that are seen in modern organisations are control and commitment:McAlister-Kizzier, Donna. 2007. "Division of Labor." ''Encyclopedia of Business and Finance'' (2nd ed.). – via Encyclopedia.com. 1 December 2014 # Control management, the style of the past, is based on the principles of job specialisation and the division of labour. This is the style of job specialisation, where employees are given a very narrow set of tasks or one specific task. # Commitment division of labour, the style of the future, is oriented on including the employee and building a level of internal commitment towards accomplishing tasks. Tasks include more responsibility and are coordinated based on expertise rather than formal position. Job specialisation is advantageous in developing employee
expert An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or obj ...

expert
ise in a field and boosting organisational production. However, disadvantages of job specialisation included limited employee skill, dependence on entire department fluency, and employee discontent with repetitive tasks.


Labour hierarchy

It is widely accepted within capitalist societies that the division of labour is to a great extent inevitable, simply because no one can do all tasks at once. Labour
hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...

hierarchy
is a very common feature of the modern capitalist workplace structure, and the way these hierarchies are structured can be influenced by a variety of different factors, including: * Size: as organisations increase in size, there is a correlation in the rise of the division of labour. * Cost: cost limits small organisations from dividing their labour responsibilities. * Development of new technology: technological developments have led to a decrease in the amount of job specialisation in organisations as new technology makes it easier for fewer employees to accomplish a variety of tasks and still enhance production. New technology has also been supportive in the flow of information between departments helping to reduce the feeling of department isolation. It is often argued that the most equitable principle in allocating people within hierarchies is that of true (or proven) competency or ability. This concept of
meritocracy Meritocracy (''merit'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
could be read as an
explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence l ...
or as a justification of why a division of labour is the way it is. This claim, however, is often disputed by various sources, particularly: *
Marxists Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies socia ...
claim hierarchy is created to support the power structures in capitalist societies which maintain the
capitalist class Bourgeoisie (; ) is a Polysemy, polysemous French term that can mean: * a sociologically defined social class, especially in contemporary times, referring to people with a certain Cultural capital, cultural and financial capital belonging to ...
as the owner of the labour of workers, in order to exploit it.
Anarchists Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its top ...

Anarchists
often add to this analysis by defending that the presence of coercive hierarchy in any form is contrary to the values of liberty and equality. * Anti-imperialists see the globalised labour hierarchy between
first world The concept of First World originated during the Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, ...
and
third world The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Western European nations and their allies represented the "First Wor ...

third world
countries necessitated by companies (through
unequal exchange Unequal exchange is used primarily in Marxist economics, but also in ecological economics (more specifically also as ecologically unequal exchange), to denote forms of exploitation Exploitation may refer to: *Exploitation of natural resources ...
) which create a
labor aristocracyLabor aristocracy American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, or labour aristocracy (also aristocracy of labor) has at least four meanings: (1) as a term with Marxist theoretical underpinnings; (2) as a specific type of trade unionis ...
by exploiting the poverty of workers in the developing world, where wages are much lower. These increased profits enable these companies to pay higher wages and taxes in the developed world (which fund
welfare Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
in first world countries), thus creating a working class satisfied with their standard of living and not inclined to revolution. This concept is further explored in
dependency theory Dependency theory is of the notion that resources flow from a "periphery Periphery or Peripheral may refer to: *Periphery (band), American progressive metal band *Periphery (album), ''Periphery'' (album), released in 2010 by Periphery *Periphery ...

dependency theory
, notably by Samir Amin and Zak Cope.


Limitations

Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
famously said in ''
The Wealth of Nations ''An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations'', generally referred to by its shortened title ''The Wealth of Nations'', is the ''magnum opus 's ''The Creation of Adam'' (c. 1512), part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling The ...

The Wealth of Nations
'' that the division of labour is limited by the extent of the market. This is because it is by the exchange that each person can be specialised in their work and yet still have access to a wide range of goods and services. Hence, reductions in barriers to exchange lead to increases in the division of labour and so help to drive economic growth. Limitations to the division of labour have also been related to coordination and transportation costs. There can be motivational advantages to a reduced division of labour (which has been termed ‘ job enlargement’ and '
job enrichmentJob enrichment is a method of motivating employees where a job is designed to have interesting and challenging tasks which can require more skill and can increase pay. Origin Frederick Herzberg, an American psychologist, originally developed the ...
'). Jobs that are too specialised in a narrow range of tasks are said to result in demotivation due to boredom and alienation. Hence, a Taylorism, Taylorist approach to work design contributed to worsened industrial relations. There are also limitations to the division of labour (and the division of work) that result from workflow variations and uncertainties. These help to explain issues in modern work organisation, such as task consolidations in business process reengineering and the use of multi-skilled work teams. For instance, one stage of a production process may temporarily work at a slower pace, forcing other stages to slow down. One answer to this is to make some portion of resources mobile between stages so that those resources must be capable of undertaking a wider range of tasks. Another is to consolidate tasks so that they are undertaken one after another by the same workers and other resources. Stocks between stages can also help to reduce the problem to some extent but are costly and can hamper quality control. Modern flexible manufacturing systems require both flexible machines and flexible workers. In project-based work, the coordination of resources is a difficult issue for the project manager as project Schedule (project management), schedules and resulting resource bookings are based on Estimation (project management), estimates of task durations and so are subject to subsequent revisions. Again, consolidating tasks so that they are undertaken consecutively by the same resources and having resources available that can be called on at short-notice from other tasks can help to reduce such problems, though at the cost of reduced specialisation. There are also advantages in a reduced division of labour where knowledge would otherwise have to be transferred between stages. For example, having a single person deal with a customer query means that only that one person has to be familiarised with the customer's details. It is also likely to result in the query being handled faster due to the elimination of delays in passing the query between different people.


Gendered division of labour

The clearest exposition of the principles of sexual division of labour across the full range of human societies can be summarised by a large number of logically complementary implicational constraints of the following form: if women of childbearing ages in a given community tend to do X (e.g., preparing soil for planting) they will also do Y (e.g., the planting) while for men the logical reversal in this example would be that if men plant they will prepare the soil. White, Brudner, and Burton's (1977) "Entailment Theory and Method: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Sexual Division of Labor", using statistical entailment analysis, shows that tasks more frequently chosen by women in these order relations are those more convenient in relation to childrearing. This type of finding has been replicated in a variety of studies, including modern industrial economies. These entailments do not restrict how much work for any given task could be done by men (e.g., in cooking) or by women (e.g., in clearing forests) but are only least-effort or role-consistent tendencies. To the extent that women clear forests for agriculture, for example, they tend to do the entire agricultural sequence of tasks on those clearings. In theory, these types of constraints could be removed by provisions of child care, but ethnographic examples are lacking.


Industrial organisational psychology

Job satisfaction has been shown to improve as an employee is given the task of a specific job. Students who have received Doctor of Philosophy, PhDs in a chosen field later report increased satisfaction compared to their previous jobs. This can be attributed to their high levels of specialisation. The higher the training needed for the specialised job position, the higher is the level of job satisfaction as well, although many highly specialised jobs can be monotonous and produce high rates of burn out periodically.


Division of work

In contrast to the division of labour, a division of work refers to the division of a large task, contract, or project into smaller tasks—each with a separate schedule within the overall project schedule. Division of labour, instead, refers to the allocation of tasks to individuals or organisations according to the skills and/or equipment those people or organisations possess. Often division of labour and division of work are both part of the economic activity within an industrial nation or organisation.


Disaggregated work

A job divided into elemental parts is sometimes called "disaggregated work". Workers specialising in particular parts of the job are called professionals. The workers doing a portion of a non-recurring work may be called general contractor, contractors, freelancers, or temporary workers. Modern information and communications technology, communication technologies, particularly the Internet, gave rise to the sharing economy, which is orchestrated by online marketplaces of various kinds of disaggregated work.


See also

* Complex society * Economic sector * Family economy * Fordism * New international division of labour * Productive and unproductive labour * Price system * Surplus product * Time use survey * Urbanization, Urbanisation * Industrialisation * Mechanization * Newly industrialized country


References


Further reading

* Gary S. Becker, Becker, Gary S. 1991. "Division of Labor in Households and Families." Ch. 2 in ''A Treatise on the Family''. Harvard University Press, . * —— 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor." ''Journal of Labor Economics'' 3(1.2):S33–S58. *Harry Braverman, Braverman, Harry. 1974. ''Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century''. Monthly Review Press. * Stephanie Coontz, Coontz, Stephanie, and Peta Henderson. ''Women's Work, Men's Property: The Origins of Gender and Class''. * * Émile Durkheim, Durkheim, Émile. 1893. ''The Division of Labour in Society''. * Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "
The American Scholar :''For the publication of Phi Beta Kappa, see The American Scholar (magazine)''. "The American Scholar" was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an Amer ...
." * Filmer, Deon. "Estimating the World at Work" (a background report). * Richard Florida, Florida, Richard. 2002. ''The Rise of the Creative Class''. * —— ''The Flight of the Creative Class''. * Froebel, F., J. Heinrichs, and O. Krey. ''The New International Division of Labour''. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. * Herbert Gintis, Gintis, Herbert, Samuel Bowles (economist), Samuel Bowles, Robert T. Boyd, and Ernst Fehr, Ernst Feghr. ''Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life''. * Robert E. Goodin, Goodin, Robert E., James Mahmud Rice, Antti Parpo, and Lina Eriksson. 2008. "Household Regimes Matter." Pp. 197–257 in ''Discretionary Time, Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom''. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. . Cambridge ID
9780521709514
* André Gorz, Gorz, André. ''The Division of Labour: The Labour Process and Class Struggle in Modern Capitalism''. * Groenewegen, Peter. 1987. "division of labour." Pp. 901–07 in ''The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics'' 1. * James Heartfield, Heartfield, James. 2001.
The Economy of Time
" ''Cultural Trends'' 43/44:155–59 * Bertell Ollman, Ollman, Bertell. ''Sexual and Social Revolution''. * Rattansi, Ali. ''Marx and the Division of Labour''. * George Reisman, Reisman, George. [1990] 1998
''Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics''
Laguna Hills, CA: TJS Books. . * Robert Solow, Solow, Robert M., and Jean-Philippe Touffut, eds. 2010.
The Shape of the Division of Labour: Nations, Industries and Households
'. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, Edward Elgar. ** Contributors: Bina Agarwal, Martin Neil Baily, Martin Baily, Jean-Louis Beffa, Richard N. Cooper, Jan Fagerberg, Elhanan Helpman, Shelly Lundberg, Valentina Meliciani, and Peter Nunnenkamp. * Murray Rothbard, Rothbard, Murray. 19 March 2018.
Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor
" ''Mises Institute''. Retrieved 2 July 2020. * Ludwig von Mises, von Mises, Ludwig.
Human Society: The Division of Labor
" Pp. 157–58 in Human Action, ''Human Action: A Treatise on Economics''''.'' * ——
Human Society: The Ricardian Law of Association
" Pp. 158–60 in ''Human Action: A Treatise on Economics''. * George Stigler, Stigler, George J. 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market." ''Journal of Political Economy'' 59(3):185–93. *''World Development Report 1995''. Washington, DC: World Bank. 1996.


External links


Summary of Smith's example of pin-making

Conference: "The New International Division of Labour"
Speakers: Bina Agarwal, Martin Baily, Jean-Louis Beffa, Richard N. Cooper, Jan Fagerberg, Elhanan Helpman, Shelly Lundberg, Valentina Meliciani, Peter Nunnenkamp. Recorded in 2009. {{DEFAULTSORT:Division Of Labour Economic anthropology Industrial history Labor history Marxism Modes of production Production economics Industry (economics) concepts Human activities with impact on the environment