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| Chap. 2.: Of the nature and causes of public opulence. - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 5 Lectures On Jurisprudence 
Lectures On Jurisprudence, ed. R.. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael and P. G. Stein, vol. V of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982).
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| Chap. 2.
Of the nature and causes of public opulence.
The unassisted labour of a solitary individual, it is evident, is altogether unable to provide for him such food, such cloaths, and such lodging, as not only the luxury of the great but as the natural appetites of the meanest peasant are, in every civilized society, supposed to require. Observe in what manner a common day labourer in Britain or in Holland is accommodated with all these, and you will be sensible that his luxury is much superior to that of many an Indian prince, the absolute master of the lives and liberties of a thousand naked savages. The woolen coat which covers the day labourer, as coarse and rougha as it may appear to be, could not be produced without the joint labour of a multitude of artists. The shepherd, the grazier, the clipper, the sorter of the wool, the picker, the comber, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, must all join their different arts in order to make out this very homely production. Not to mention the merchants and carriers, who transport the materials from one of those artists to another, who often lives in a very distant country; how many other artists are employed in producing the tools even of the very meanest of these. I shall say nothing of so very complex a machine as the loom of | the weaver or as the mill of the fuller; much less of the immense commerce and navigation, the ship building, the sail–making, the rope–making, necessary to bring together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often come from the remotest corners of the world; but consider only what a variety of labour is necessary to produce that very simple machine, the sheers of the clipper. The miner, the builder of the furnace for smelting the ore, the burner of the charcoal to be made use of in that operation, the feller of the timber of which that charcoal is made, the brickmaker, the bricklayer, the smelter, the mill wright, the forger, the smith, must all club their different industries in order to produce them. If web were to examine in the same manner all the other parts of his dress and household furniture, the coarse linnen shirt which he wears next his skin, the shoes which cover his feet, the bed which he lyes in 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, dugg 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 kitchin, all the furniture of his table, the knives and forks, the delft or pewter plates upon which he serves up and divides his victuals, the many hands who are employed in preparing his bread and his beer, the plowman, the sower of the corn, the reaper, the thresher, the maltster, the miller, the brewer, the baker, with all the other artists who supply each of them with the tools of their respective trades, the glass window which lets in the heat and the | light and keeps out the wind and the rain, and all the knowledge and art which were requisite for preparing that beautiful and happy invention, without which these northern parts of the world could scarce have been made habitable, at least by that effeminate and delicate race of mortals who dwell in them at present: If we examine, I say, all those different conveniencies and luxuries with which he is accomodated and consider what a variety of labours is employed about each of them, we shall be sensible that without the assistance and cooperation of many thousands the very meanest person in civilized society could not be provided for, even in, what we very falsely imagine, the easy and simple manner in which he is commonly accomodated. Compared, indeed, with the yet more extravagant luxury of the great, his accomodation must no doubt appear extremely simple and easy; and yet, perhaps, it may be true that the accomodation of a European prince does not so much exceed that of an industrious and frugal peasant, as the accomodation of this last exceeds that of the chief of a savage nation in North America.
It cannot be very difficult to explain how it comes about that the rich and the powerful should, in a civilized society, be better provided with the conveniencies and necessaries of life than it is possible for any person to provide himself in a savage and solitary state.c It is very easy to conceive that the person who can at all times direct the labours of thousands to his own purposes, should be better provided with whatever he has occasion for than he who depends upon his own industry only. But how it comes about that the labourer | and the peasant should likewise be better provided is not perhaps so easily understood. In a civilized society the poor provide both for themselves and for the enormous luxury of their superiors. The rent which goes to support the vanity of the slothful landlord is all earnedd by the industry of the peasant. The monied man indulges himself in every sort of ignoble and sordid sensuality, at the expence of the merchant and the trades man to whom he lends out his stock at interest. All the indolent and frivolous retainers upon a court are, in the same manner, fed, cloathed, and lodged by the labour of those who pay the taxes which support them. Among savages, on the contrary, every individual enjoys the whole produce of his own industry. There are among them no landlords, no usurers, no taxgatherers. We might naturally expect, therefore, if experience did not demonstrate the contrary, that every individual among them should have a much greater affluence of the necessaries and conveniencies of life than can be possessed by the inferior ranks of people in a civilized society.
What considerably increases this difficulty is the consideration that the labour of an hundred, or of an hundred thousand men, should seem to bear the same proportion to the support of an hundred or of an hundred thousand, which the labour of one bears to the support of one man. Supposing therefore that the produce of the labour of the multitude was to be equally and fairly divided, each individual, we should expect, could be little better provided for than the single person who laboured alone. But with regard to the produce of the labour of a great society there is never any such thing as a fair | and equal division. In a society of an hundred thousand families, there will perhaps be one hundred who don’t labour at all, and who yet, either by violence or by the more orderly oppression of law, employ a greater part of the labour of the society than any other ten thousand in it. The division of what remains, too, after this enormous defalcation, is by no means made in proportion to the labour of each individual. On the contrary those who labour most get least. The opulent merchant, who spends a great part of his time in luxury and entertainments, enjoys a much greater proportion of the profits of his traffic than all the clerks and accountants who do the business. These last, again, enjoying a great deal of leisure and suffering scarce any other hardship besides the confinement of attendance, enjoy a much greater share of the produce than three times an equal number of artizans, who, under their direction, labour much more severely and assiduously. The artizan, again, tho he works generally under cover, protected from the injuries of the weather, at his ease and assisted by the conveniency of innumerable machines, enjoys a much greater share than the poor labourer who has the soil and the seasons to struggle with, and who, while he affords the materials for supplying the luxury of all the other members of the common wealth, and bears, as it were, upon his shoulders the whole fabric of human society, seems himself to be pressed down below ground by the weight, and to be buried out of sight in the lowest foundations of the building. In the midst of so much oppressive inequality, in what manner shall we account for the superior affluence and abundance | commonly possessed even by this lowest and most despised member of civilized society, compared with what the most respected and active savage can attain to.
The division of labour, by which each individual confines himself to a particular branch of business, can alone account for that superior opulence which takes place in civilized societies, and which, notwithstanding the inequality of property, extends itself to the lowest member of the community. Let us consider the effects of this division of labour as it takes place in some particular manufactures, and we shall from thence more easily be enabled to explain in what manner it operates in the general business of society. Thus, to give a very frivolous instance, if all the parts of a pin were to be made by one man, if the same person was to dig the mettal out of the mine, seperate it from the ore, forge it, split it into small rods, then spin these rods into wire, and last of all make that wire into pins, a man perhaps could with his utmost industry scarce make a pin in a year. The price of a pin, therefore, must in this case at least have been equal to the maintenance of a man for a year. Let this be supposed equal to six pounds sterling, a miserable allowance for a person of so much ingenuity, the price of a single pin must have been six pounds sterling. Supposing that the wire was furnished to him ready made, as at present, even in this case, I imagine, one man could with his utmost dilligence scarce make twenty pins in a day, which, allowing three hundred working days in the year, will amount to six thousand pins in the year; an immense increase!e His maintainance for a day therefore must be charged upon those twenty pins. Let us suppose this maintainance equal | to ten pence, a most liberal allowance compared with the foregoing, there must be a half penny of this charged upon each pin over and above the price of the wire and the profite of the merchant, which would make the price of a pin about a penny: a price which appears as nothing compared with the foregoing, but which is still extravagant compared with that which actually takes place. For the pin–maker, in preparing this small superfluity, very properly takes care to divide the labour among a great number of persons. One man straightens the wire, another cuts it, a third points it, a fourth grinds it at the top for receiving the head, three or four people are employed about making the head, to put it on is the business of a particular person, to guild the pins is the occupation of another, it is even a trade by itself to put them in the paper. When this small operation is in this manner divided among about eighteen persons, these eighteen will perhaps among them make upwards of thirty six thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making an eighteenth part of thirty six thousand pins, may be considered as making two thousand pins a day, and supposing three hundred working days in the year, each person may be considered as making six hundred thousand pins in the year, that is, each person produces six hundred thousand times the quantity of work which he was capable of producing when he had the whole machinery and materials to provide for himself, as upon the first supposition; and one hundred times the quantity of work which he was capable of producing when the wire was | afforded him ready made, as upon the second. The yearly maintainance, therefore, of each person is to be charged not upon one pin as by the first supposition, nor upon six thousand as by the second, but upon six hundred thousand pins. The master of the work, therefore, can both afford to increase the wages of the labourer, and yet sell the commodity at a vastly lower rate than before: and pins instead of being sold at six pounds a piece as upon the first supposition, or at twelve pence a dozen as upon the second, are commonly sold at several dozens for a half penny.
The division of labour has the same effect in all the other arts as in this frivolous manufacture, and occasions in the same manner an immense multiplication of the productions of each. In every opulent society, the farmer is nothing but a farmer, the manufacturer nothing but a manufacturer. The labour which is necessary to produce any one compleat manufacture is divided among a vast number of hands. How many different people are employed in each branch of the linnen and woollen manufactures, from the growers of the flax and the wool to the dyers and dressers of the cloth, or the bleachers and smoothers of the linnen! The nature of agriculture, indeed, does not admit of so many subdivisions of labour, nor of such an entire seperation of one business from another, as commonly takes place in manufactures. It is impossible to seperate so entirely the business of the grazier from that of the corn farmer, as the trade of the carpenter is commonly seperated from that of the smith. | The spinner is always a different person from the weaver. But the plowman, the harrower, the sower of the seed, and the reaper of the corn are often the same. The occasions for their different labours returning with the different seasons of the year, make it impossible for one man to be entirely employed on any one of those different occupations. With regard even to agriculture, however, in well cultivated countries the businesses of the thresher and the ditcher, as they can do their work through the whole year, are often considered as compleat trades, distinct and seperated from all others. It is the same case with the plow–wright and the makers of all the other instruments of agriculture, the forgers of the scythe and reaping hook, the wheel wright, the cart and waggon maker. It is this impossibility, however, of making so compleat and entire a seperation of all the different branches of labour employed in agriculture which must forever hinder the improvement of this art from keeping pace with the improvements of manufactures. The most opulent nation will commonly excell all its’ neighbours in agriculture as well as in manufactures; but it will always be more distinguished by its superiority in the latter than in the former, tho’ the former may be of much greater value. The corn of France is fully as good and in the provinces where it grows rather cheaper than that of England, at least during ordinary seasons. But the toys of England, their watches, their cutlery ware, their locks and hinges of doors, their buckles | and buttons, are in accuracy, solidity, and perfection of work out of all comparison superior to those of France, and cheaper too in the same degree of goodness.f
It is the immense multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which, notwithstanding the great inequalities of property, occasions in all civilized societies that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. So great a quantity of every thing is produced that there is enough both to gratify the slothful and oppressive profusion of the great, and at the same time abundantly to supply the wants of the artizan and the peasant. Each man performs so great a quantity of that work which peculiarly belongs to him that he can both afford something to those who do not labour at all, and at the same time have as much behind as will enable him, by exchanging it for the productions of other arts, to supply himself with all the necessaries and conveniencies which he stands in need of. Let us suppose, for example, to return to the frivolous instance which I formerly gave, that pins may be valued at a penny the hundred, which is nearly the price of some particular sorts of them. The pinmaker who, according to the forgoing supposition, could be considered as making two thousand pins a day, produces work to the value of twenty pence. Let five pence be allowed for the price of the wire, the wear of the tools, and the profits of the master of the work, there remain fifteen pence for the wages of the artizan, with | which he can purchase all the necessaries and conveniencies of life. The case here is the same as if he gave five hundred pins to his master for affording him the wire, the tools, and the employment, and kept fifteen hundred to himself, in order to be exchanged for the productions of the other arts which he had occasion for. For it is the same thing, with regard to opulence, whether we consider a person as possessed of a particular merchandize, or of the value of a particular merchandize. Let us suppose that by still further divisions of labour and improvements of art a pin–maker could be made to produce four thousand pins a day. In this case, tho’ pins were to be valued one fourth less, and to be sold for three farthings the hundred, the artizan would produce work to the value of thirty pence a day. His master might have ten pence, or the value of thirteen hundred and thirty three pins, for his profits and expences, and the artizan retain twenty pence, or the value of two thousand six hundred and sixty seven pins, for his wages. The price of the work would be diminished, and the wages of the labourer increased; the public would be better supplyed and the workmen more amply rewarded. I do not mean that the profits are divided in fact precisely in the above manner, but that they may be divided in such manner.g
It is in this manner that in an opulent and commercial society labour becomes dear and work cheap, and those two events, which vulgar prejudices and superficial reflection are apt to consider as altogether incompatible, are found by experience to be perfectly consistent. | The high price of labour is to be considered not meerly as a proof of the general opulence of society which can afford to pay well all those whom it employs; it is to be regarded as what constitutes the essence of public opulence, or as the very thing in which public opulence properly consists. That state is properly opulent in which opulence is easily come at, or in which a little labour, properly and judiciously employed, is capable of procuring any man a great abundance of all the necessaries and conveniencies of life. Nothing else, it is evident, can render it general, or diffuse it universally through all the members of the society. National opulence is the opulence of the whole people, which nothing but the great reward of labour, and consequently the great facility of acquiring, can give occasion to. As this labour however is applied with great skill and judgement, as it is supported by the concurrence and united force of a great society, and over and above all this, as it is assisted by innumerable machines, it produces a much greater effect and performs a much greater quantity of work than in proportion to the superiority of its reward. The more opulent therefore the society, labour will always be so much the dearer and work so much the cheaper, and if some opulent countries have lost several of their manufactures and some branches of their commerce by having been undersold in foreign markets by the traders and artizans of poorer countries, who were contented with less profit and smaller wages, this will rarely be found to have been meerly the effect of the opulence of the one country and the poverty of | the other. Some other cause, we may be assured, must have concurred. The rich country must have been guilty of some great error in its police. It must either have oppressed that particular branch of commerce or manufacture by improper customs and excises, or by the licensed insulenceh of the officers of revenue, frequently more vexatious than all the taxes which they levey. Or by taxing, and thereby raising the prices of the necessaries of life, it must have increased the difficulty of subsistance, and thereby have screwed up the price of labour to an unnatural height, far beyond what the opulence of the society could of its own accord have raised it to. Where no error of this kind has been committed, as among individuals a rich merchant can always undersell and a rich manufacturer underwork a poor one, so among great societies a rich nation must always in every competition of commerce and manufactures have an equal or superior advantage over a poor one.
This immense increase of the quantity of work performed, in consequence of the division of labour, 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 lost in passing from one species of work to another; and last of all, to the invention of innumerable machines, which facilitate labour and enable one workman to do the business of many.
The improvement of the dexterity of the workmen greatly increases the quantity of the work performed; and the division of labour, by reducing the work which every man has to perform to a very simple operation, and by making the performance of that operation the sole business | of his life, necessarily improves to the highest degree the dexterity of the workman. A smith, who has rarely or never had occasion to make nails, tho accustomed to use his hammer in a hundred other operations which one would think not very different, can, I am informed, with his utmost dilligence scarce make two or three hundred nails in a day, and these too excessively bad. A country smith who shoes horses, mends locks and hinges of doors, makes and mends spades, shovels, and all the other instruments of agriculture, when he has no particular piece of work upon his hands commonly employs his time in making nails. Such a person can, when he exerts himself, make about a thousand nails a day, and those too pretty good. I have seen a boy of nineteen years of age, who had done nothing else all his life but made nails, who in twelve hours could make two thousand three hundred nails, that is, about eight times the work of the first, and more than double the work of the second. The making of a nail, however, is by no means one of the simplest operations. The same person mends the fire, blows the bellows, heats the iron,i forges every part of the nail, and in forging the head is obliged to change his tools, which occasions a considerable loss of time; notwithstanding all this, a good workman will make very near four nails in a minute.j The different operations into which the making of a pin or of a mettal button is subdivided are all of them much more simple, and the dexterity acquired by the person, the sole business of whose life is to perform them, is out of all proportion | greater. The rapidity with which some of the operations of those manufactures are performed far exceeds what the human hand could, by those who had never seen them, be supposed capable of acquiring.
The advantage, too, which is gained by saving the time commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another is very considerable, and much greater than what we should at first be apt to imagine. It is impossible to pass very quickly from some businesses to others, which are carried on in distant places and with quite different tools. A country weaver who likewise 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. Where the two businesses can be carried on in the same work house, the loss of time is no doubt much less. It is even here, however, very considerable. A man commonly saunters a little in turning his hand from one sort of employment to a quite different <?one>. When he first begins the new work he is seldome very keen or hearty. His mind does not go with it, and he for some time rather triffles than applies to good purpose. A man of great spirit and activity, when he is hard pushed upon some particular occasion, will pass with the greatest rapidity from one sort of work to another through a great variety of businesses. Even a man of spirit and activity, however, must be hard pushed before | he can do this. In the ordinary course of business, when he passes from one thing to another he will saunter and trifle, tho’ not undoubtedly in the same degree, yet in the same manner as an idle fellow. This habit of sauntering and of indolent, careless application, which is naturally or rather necessarily contracted 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 manners almost every day in his life, renders him almost always very slothful and lazy, and incapable, even upon the most pressing occasions, of any vigourous application. Independent therefore of his want of the most perfect dexterity this cause alone must always make the quantity of the work which he performs extremely inconsiderable.
Every body must be sensible how much labour is abridged and facilitated by the application of proper machinery. By means of the ploughk two men, with the assistance of three horses, will cultivate more ground than twenty could do with the spade. A miller and his servant, with a wind or water mill, will at their ease grind more corn than eight men could do, with the severest labour, by hand mills. To grind corn in a hand mill was the severest work to which the antients commonly applied their slaves, and to which they seldome condemned them unlessl when they had been guilty of some very great fault. A hand mill, however, is a very ingenuousm machine which greatly facilitates labour, and by which a great deal of more work can | be performed than when the corn is either to be beat in a mortar, or with the bare hand, unassisted by any machinery, to be rubbed into pouder between two hard stones, as is the practice not only of all barbarous nations but of some remote provinces in this country. It was the division of labour which probably gave occasion to the invention of the greater part of those machines, by which labour is so much facilitated and abridged. When the whole force of the mind is directed to one particular object, as in consequence of the division of labour it must be, the mind is more likely to discover the easiest methods of attaining that object than when its attention is dissipated among a great variety of things. He was probably a farmer who first invented the original, rude form of the plough. The improvements which were afterwards made upon it might be owing sometimes to the ingenuity of the plow wright when that business had become a particular occupation, and sometimes to that of the farmer. Scarce any of them are so complex as to exceed what might be expected from the capacity of the latter. The drill plow, the most ingenious of any, was the invention of a farmer. Some miserable slave, condemned to grind corn between two stones by the meer strength of his arms, pretty much in the same manner as painters bray their colours at present, was probably the first who thought of supporting the upper stone by a spindle and of turning it round by a crank or handle which moved | horizontally, according to what seems to have been the original, rude form of hand mills. He who first thought of making the spindle pass quite through the under millstone, which is at rest, of uniting it with a trundle, and of turning round that trundle by means of a cog wheel, which was itself turned round by a winch or handle, according to the present form of hand mills, was probably a mill wright, or a person whose principal or sole business it was, in consequence of the still further division of labour, to prepare that original, rude machine which it does not exceed the capacity of a common slave to have invented. Great advantages were gained by this improvement. The whole machinery being thus placed below the under millstone, the top of the upper one was left free for the conveniencies of the hopper, the feeder and shoe, and the crank or handle, which turned the cog wheel, moving in a circle perpendicular to the horizon, the strength of the human body could be applied to it with much more advantage than to any crank which was to be turned round in a circle parallel to the horizon. These different improvements were probably not all of them the inventions of one man, but the successive discoveries of time and experience, and of the ingenuity of many different artists. Some of the more simple of them, such as the feeder and the shoe, might be the contrivances of the miller. But the more complex, such as the cog wheel and the trundle, were probably the inventions of the millwright. They bear | n the most evident marks of the ingenuity of a very intelligent artist. He who first thought of substituting, in the room of the crank or handle, an outer wheel which was to be turned round by a stream of water, and much more, he who first thought of employing a stream of wind for the same purpose, was probably no work man of any kind, but a philosopher or meer man of speculation; one of those people whose trade it is not to do any thing but to observe every thing, and who are upon that account capable of combining together the powers of the most opposite and distant objects. To apply in the most advantagious manner those powers which are allready known and which have already been applyed to a particular purpose, does not exceed the capacity of an ingenious artist. But to think of the application of new powers, which are altogether unknown and which have never before been applied to any similar purpose, belongs to those only who have a greater range of thought and more extensive views of things than naturally fall to the share of a meer artist. When an artist makes any such discovery he showes himself to be not a meer artist but a real philosopher, whatever may be his nominal profession. It was a real philosopher only who could invent the fire engine, and first form the idea of producing so great an effect by a power in nature which had never before been thought of. Many inferior artists, employed in the fabric of this wonderful machine, | may afterwards discover more happy methods of applying that power than those first made use of by its illustrious inventer. It must have been a philosopher who, in the same manner, first invented those now common and therefore disregarded machines, wind and water mills. Many inferior artists may have afterwards improved them. Philosophy or speculation, in the progress of society, naturally becomes, like every other employment, the sole occupation of a particular class of citizens. Like every other trade it is subdivided into many different branches, and we have mechanical, chymical, astronomical, physical, metaphysical, moral, political, commercial, and critical philosophers. In philosophy as in every other business this subdivision of employment improves dexterity and saves time. Each individual is more expert at his particular branch. More work is done upon the whole and the quantity of science is considerably increased by it.
This division of labour from which so many advantages result is originally the effect of no human wisdom which forsees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary tho very slow and gradual consequence of a certain principle or propensity in human nature, which has in view no such extensive utility. This is a propensity, common to all men, | and to be found in no other race of animals, a propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. That this propensity is common to all men is sufficiently obvious. And it is equally so that it is to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to be acquainted neither with this nor with any other species of contract. Two greyhounds, in running down the same hare, have sometimes the appearance of acting in some sort of concert. Each turns her towards his companion, or endeavours to intercept her when his companion turns her towards himself. This however is not the effect of any contract, but arises meerly from their passions happening at that instant to concurr in the same object. No body ever[y] saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. No body ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, ‘This is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that.’ When an animal wants to obtain something either of a man or of another animal, it has no other means of persuasion but to gain the kindness and favour of those whose service it stands in need of. A puppy fawns upon its dam, and a spaniel endeavours, by a thousand attractions, | to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man sometimes uses the same arts with his bretheren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act according to his inclinations endeavours by every fawning attention to obtain their goodwill. He has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion. So necessitous is his natural situation that he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. In every other race of animals each individual is almost entirely independent, and in its ordinary and natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. When any uncommon misfortune befals it, its piteous and doleful cries will sometimes engage its fellows, and sometimes prevail even upon man, to relieve it. When such assistance, however, becomes indispensibly necessary, the creature must generally lay its account with perishing for want of it. Such occasions can in the common course of things occur but seldom, and nature, with her usual oeconomy, has not thought proper to make any particular provision for them, any more than she has made for the relief of man | when he is ship wrecked in the middle of the ocean. Her great purpose, the continuance and propogation of each species,1 she has thought, was not likely to be interrupted by such uncommon and extraordinary accidents. But tho’ an animal when once it has grown up to maturity stands but seldom in need of the assistance of its fellows, a man has almost constant occasion for the help of his bretheren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be much more likely to prevail if he can interest their self love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind proposes to do this. ‘Give me that which I want and you shall have this which you want’, is the plain meaning of every such offer. It is in this manner that we obtain from one another by far the greater and more important part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, and the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. | Nobody but a beggar chuseso to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. If he did he would perish in a week. The charity of well disposed people, indeed, may supply him perhaps with the whole fund of his subsistence. But tho’ this principle ultimately provides him with all the necessaries of life which he has occasion for, it neither does nor can provide him with them as he has occasion for them. The greater part of his occasional wants are supplied in the same manner as those of other people, by treaty, by barter, and by purchase. With the money which one man gives him he purchases food. The old cloaths which another bestows upon him he exchanges for other old cloaths which suit him better, or for lodging or for food, or for money, with which he can buy either food, cloaths, or lodging as he has occasion.
As it is in this manner, by barter and exchange, that we obtain from one another the greater part of those mutual good offices which we stand in need of, so it is this same trucking disposition which originally gives occasion to that division of labour upon which is founded the whole opulence of civilized societies. Among a nation of hunters or | shepherds a particular savage is observed to make bows and arrows with more readiness and dexterity than any other person. He sometimes exchanges them for venison or for cattle withp his companions, and by degrees comes to find that he can in this manner procureq more venison and more cattle than if he himself went to the field to hunt them. From a regard to his own interest and ease, therefore, it grows to be his chief business to make bows and arrows; and he becomes in this manner a kind of armourer. Another excells in making the frames and covers of their little huts or moveable houses. He is accustomed in this way to be of use to those of his own tribe, who reward him in the same manner with cattle and with venison, till at length he finds it for his interest to dedicate himself entirely to this employment, and he becomes a sort of house carpenter. In the same manner, a third becomes a smith; a fourth a tanner or dresser of hydes and skins, the principal part of the cloathing of savages; and thus the certainty of being able to exchange all that part of the produce of his own labour which he himself has no occasion for, for such parts of the produce of other mens labours as he has occasion for, enables every man to apply himself to a particular occupation and | to cultivate and bring to perfection whatever natural genius or talent he may possess for that particular species of business.
In reality the difference of natural talents in different men is perhaps much less than we are aware of, and the very different genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions when grown up to maturity is not, perhaps, so much the cause as the effect of the division of labour. What two men can be more different than a philosopher and a common porter? This difference, however, seems to arise not so much from nature as from habit, custom, and education. When they came into the world, and for the first five or six years of their existence, they were perhaps pretty much alike, and neither their parents nor their play fellows could observe any remarkable distinction. About that age, or soon after, they come to be employed in very different occupations. The difference of what we call geniusr comes then to be taken notice of, and widens by degrees, till at last the vanity of the philosopher is scarce willing to acknowledge any resemblance. But without the disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, every man must have procured for himself every necessary of life which he wanted. Every man must have employed himself in every thing. All must have had the | same work to do and the same duties to perform, and there could have been no such difference of employment as could alone give occasion to any great difference of character. It is upon this account that a much greater uniformity of character is to be observed among savages than among civilized nations. Among the former there is scarce any division of labour and consequently no remarkable difference of employments; whereas among the latter there is an almost infinite variety of occupations, of which the respective duties bear scarce any resemblance to one another. What a perfect uniformity of character do we find in all the heroes described by Ossian? And what a variety of manners, on the contrary, in those who are celebrated by Homer? Ossian plainly describes the exploits of a nation of hunters,2 while Homer paints the actions of two nations who, tho’ far from being perfectly civilized, were yet much advanced beyond the age of shepherds, who cultivated lands, who built cities, and among whom he mentions many different trades and occupations, such as masons, carpenters, smiths, merchants, soothsayers, priests, physicians.s It is this disposition to truck, barter, and exchange which not only gives occasion | to that difference of genius and talents, so remarkable among men of different professions, but which renders that difference usefull. There are many tribes of animals, which are all confessedly of the same species, upon whom nature seems to have stampt a much more remarkable distinction of genius and disposition than any which takes place among men, antecedent to custom and education. By nature a philosopher is not, in genius and disposition, half so different from a porter as a mastiff is from a greyhound, or a greyhound from a spaniel, or this last from a sheep dog. Those different tribes of animals, however, tho’ all of the same species, are of scarce any use to one another. The strength of the mastiff is not in the least supported, either by the swiftness of the greyhound, or by the sagacity of the spaniel, or by the docility of the sheep dog. The effects of those different geniuses and talents, for want of the power or disposition to barter and exchange, cannot be brought into a common stock, and do not in the least contribute to the better accomodation of the species. Each animal is still obliged to support and defend itself seperately and independently, and derives no sort of advantage from that variety of talents with which nature has distinguished its fellows. Among men, on the contrary, the most dissimilar geniuses are of use to one another, the different produces of their different talents being brought, as | it were, into a common stock by the general disposition to truck, barter, and exchange. A porter is of use to a philosopher, not only by sometimes carrying a burden for him, but by facilitating almost every trade and manufacture whose productions the philosopher can have occasion for. Whatever we buy from any shop or ware–house comes cheaper to us by means of those poor despised labourers, who in all great towns have set themselves aside for the particular occupation of carrying goods from one place to another, of packing and unpacking them, and who in consequence have acquired extraordinary strength, dexterity, and readiness in this sort of business. Every thing would be dearer if before it was exposed to sale it had been carried, packt, and unpackt by hands less able and less dexterous, who for an equal quantity of work would have taken more time, and must consequently have required more wages, which must have been charged upon the goods. The philosopher on the other hand is of use to the porter, not only by being sometimes an occasional customer, as well as any other man who is not a porter, but in many other respects. If the speculations of the philosopher have been turned towards the improvement of the mechanic arts, the benefit of them may evidently descend to the meanest of the people. Whoever burns coals has them at a better bargain by means of the inventor of the fire engine. | Whoever eats bread receives a much greater advantage of the same kind from the inventors and improvers of wind and water mills. Even the speculations of those who neither invent nor improve any thing are not altogether useless. They serve at least to keep alive and deliver down to posterity the inventions and improvements which had been made before them. They explain the grounds and reasons upon which those discoveries were founded, and do not allow the quantity of usefull knowledge to diminish. In opulent and commercial societies, besides, to think or to reason comes to be, like every other employment, a particular business, which is carried on by a very few people, who furnish the public with all the thought and reason possessed by the vast multitudes that labour. Let any ordinary person make a fair review of all the knowledge which he possesses concerning any subject that does not fall within the limits of his particular occupation, and he will find that almost every thing he knows has been acquired at second hand, from books, from the literary instructions which he may have received in his youth, or from the occasional conversations which he may have had with men of learning. A very small part of it only, he will find, has been the produce of his own observations or reflections. All the rest has been purchased, in the same manner as his shoes or his stockings, from those whose business it is to make up and prepare for the market that particular species of goods. It is in this manner that he has acquired all his general ideas concerning the great subjects of | religion, morals, and government, concerning his own happiness or that of his country. His whole system concerning each of those important objects will almost always be found to have been originally the produce of the industry of other people, from whom either he himself or those who have had the care of his education have procured it in the same manner as any other commodity, by barter and exchange for some part of the produce of their own labour.
[a]Replaces ‘rough’, possibly mis–spelt
[c]‘to provide himself’ deleted
[d]Replaces ‘earned’, possibly mis–spelt
[e]The last twenty–one words are written in the margin
[f]As the MS. originally stood, the first twenty words of the next paragraph (‘It is the immense multiplication . . . the division of labour’) followed on immediately after ‘the same degree of goodness.’ These twenty words were deleted, and then rewritten so as to form the opening of a new paragraph.
[g]The last sentence is written in the margin
[j]The last fifteen words are written in the margin
[n]‘in them’ deleted
[1 ]In TMS II.ii.3.5 Smith writes of ‘the two great purposes of nature, the support of the individual, and the propagation of the species’.
[p]‘some of’ deleted
[q]Replaces ‘procure’, possibly mis–spelt
[r]‘between them’ deleted
[2 ]Cf. Hugh Blair, Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian (1763), 17: ‘Throughout Ossian’s poems, we plainly find ourselves in the first of these periods of society; during which, hunting was the chief employment of men, and the principal method of their procuring subsistence.’
[s]The words ‘a new paragraph’ are written in the margin at this point