Division of Labor

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Brendan Dunn
Economics 102
Prof. Miehls
2/18/2013
Question 1- Division of Labor

The relationship that division of labor and the history of economics have shared is a long and fruitful one indeed. Throughout the ages, the work necessary to sustain life has become exponentially more specialized, drawing more every year on talent and aptitude. No longer are the days of old where a single family had to be self-sufficient, providing all the necessities to survival, e.g. food, clothing, shelter. With a more specific work load, it is now possible to trade otherwise “superfluous” goods and services for these essentials. Just a couple hundred years ago, someone like a personal accountant would be basically “SoL” and probably starve to death trying to barter their services for something to eat or a place to stay dry. Fortunately for personal accountants, the diversified system of economics we have today allows them to provide for themselves and their families, and quite well to boot. But the division of labor does not only benefit these laborers who have nothing “actually valuable” to add, but it benefits societal production as a whole. It has been proven that having a highly specialized work force in reality provides more efficiency and productivity than previous systems. This concept can basically be summed up by the well-known phrase “a jack of all trades, but master of none”. So as to say, an economy full of masters of a single, respective trade is better overall than the opposite approach.
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