Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Democracy to Endowed Schools >> Division of Employments_P1

Division of Employments

labour, objects, combination, life, boat, strength and combine

Page: 1 2 3 4 5

DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENTS, in political economy, is an important agent in increasing the productiveness of labour. It is by labour alone that wealth is produced. It is a law of man's nature that " by the sweat of his face he shall eat bread ;" and in return for his labour he acquires various sources of enjoyment. The ingenuity with which he has been endowed, and the hard necessities of his condition, lead him to discover the most effective means of applying his labour to whatever objects he may be seeking to attain. He desires first to work no more than is necessary, and secondly to obtain the largest return—the most abundant enjoyment, for his industry. He soon finds that his own unaided labour will scarcely provide for him the barest neces saries, and that ease or enjoyment is un attainable. Thus instead of each man labouring separately, and independently of all others, many men combine together for securing the various objects of life, by means of their joint labour ; and this combination of labour leads to division of employments. Labour is naturally ex erted in these two forms in the very ear liest stages of society. The first pair whom God's ordinances and their own instinct united, must have combined for the support of themselves and their com mon family, and diversity of sex alone must have produced distinct employments. Among savages the man engages in the chase, for which he has a natural predi lection, and for which his strength adapts him, while his mate rears their children and executes those functions which are suited to her sex, but which are as con ducive to the comfort of both as if both performed them. In this manner a divi sion of employments naturally arises, and each family affords an example of its origin and character.

This combination for a common object, succeeded by a division of employments, pervades every process of human indus try, and increases in variety and com plexity with the growth of civilization. One of the earliest forms of industry is that of fishing, and none, perhaps, exem plifies more aptly the mode in which labour is necessarily applied to the pur poses of life. A man desirous of building

a fishing-boat may cut down a tree, with out any assistance from others, and may even hew it into shape : but if it be larger than a mere canoe he cannot, by his own strength, remove it from the spot on which the tree had fiillen, and launch it upon the sea. To effect this, others must combine their strength with his. To manage a boat the labour of more than one man is ordinarily required, and the larger the boat the greater must be the number who combine to navigate it. If they paddle or row it, their labour is simply combined for one purpose and in one manner, except that one, instead of rowing, may probably steer the boat. As the art of navigation improves and its objects be come multiplied, in addition to a more extensive combination of men in pursuit of the same objects, a diversity of employ ments ensues. In a deep-sea fishery, some attend to the nets, others to the sails ; and on their return to land, some arrange the nets to dry and repair them, while others are engaged in disposing of the fish.

From these illustrations it is evident that the cause of a division of employ ments is to be sought in the nature and circumstances of man. It is not the result of extraordinary foresight, but is suggested by the most common exigencies of life : its convenience is obvious, but the feeling which prompts men to adopt it is spontaneous and, as it were, intui tive. It is a social necessity, and the very foundation of any social system whatever, yet it is practised almost un consciously by the greater part of man kind. Its existence, however, lies so open to observation that it is scarcely to be ranked as a discovery of political eco nomy ; but that science, having noted the facts of a combination of labour and a di vision of employments, explains their uses and results; and in pursuing these inquiries it developer some of the most important principles connected with the production and distribution of wealth. To these in quiries we must now devote our atten tion.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5