scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 14,331
In 1776 Adam Smith opened The Wealth of Nations with the observation that the greatest improvements in the productive powers of labour and the greatest part of the skill dexterity and judgement with which it is anywhere directed or applied seem to have been the effects of the division of labour1 Despite the numerous economic advantages thus derived however Smith insisted that the division of labor was not itself the effect of any human wisdom or foresight rather it was the necessary albeit very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature -- the propensity to truck barter and exchange one thing for another2 Common to all men this propensity could be found in no other animals and subsequently encouraged by the recognition of individual self-interest it gave rise to differences among men more extensive more important and ultimately more useful than those implied by their natural endowments More than a century later Durkheim could observe apparently without exaggeration that economists upheld the division of labor not only as necessary but as the supreme law of human societies and the condition of their progress3 Greater concentrations of productive forces and capital investment seemed to lead modern industry business and agriculture toward greater separation and specialization of occupations and even a greater interdependence among the products themselves And like Smith Durkheim recognized that this extended beyond the economic world embracing not only political administrative and judicial activities but aesthetic and scientific activities as well Even philosophy had been broken into a multitude of special disciplines each of which had its own object method and ideas Unlike Smith however Durkheim viewed this law of the division of labor as applying not only to human societies but to biological organisms generally Citing recent speculation in the philosophy of biology see the works of CF Wolff KE von Baer and H Milne-Edwards Durkheim noted the apparent correlation between the functional specialization of the parts of an
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA