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even of the lowest and poorest order, if he is Introduct. frugal and industrious, may enjoy a greater share of the necessaries and conveniences of life than it is poffible for any favage to acquire.
The causes of this improvement, in the productive powers of labour, and the order, according to which its produce is naturally distributed among the different ranks and conditions of men in the society, make the subject of the First Book of this Inquiry.
Whatever be the actual state of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which labour is applied in any nation, the abundance or fcantiness of its annual fupply must depend, during the continuance of that state, upon the proportion between the number of those who are annually employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed. The number of useful and productive labourers, it will hereafter appear, is every where in proportion to the quantity of capital stock which is employed in setting them to work, and to the particular way in which it is so employed. The Second Book, therefore, treats of the nature of capital stock, of the manner in which it is gradually accumulated, and of the different quantities of labour which it puts into motion, according to the different ways in which it is employed.
Nations tolerably well advanced as to skill, dexterity, and judgment, in the application of labour, have followed very different plans in the general conduct or direction of it; and those plans have not all been equally favourable to the
Introduct. greatness of its produce. The policy of fome
nations has given extraordinary encouragement to the industry of the country ; that of others to the industry of towns. Scarce any nation has dealt equally and impartially with every fort of industry. Since the downfal of the Roman empire, the policy of Europe has been more favourable to arts, manufactures, and commerce, the industry of towns; than to agriculture, the industry of the country. The circumstances which seem to have introduced and established this policy are explained in the Third Book.
Though those different plans were, perhaps, first introduced by the private interests and prejudices of particular orders of men, without any regard to, or foresight of, their consequences upon the general welfare of the society; yet they have given occasion to very different theories of political æconomy; of which fome magnify the importance of that industry which is carried on in towns, others of that which is carried on in the country. Those theories have had a con, fiderable influence, not only upon the opinions of men of learning, but upon the public conduct of princes and fovereign states. I have endeavoured in the Fourth Book, to explain, as fully and distinctly as I can, those different theories, and the principal effects which they have produced in different ages and nations.
To explain in what has confifted the revenue of the great body of the people, or what has been the nature of those funds, which, in different ages and nations, have supplied their an
nual consumption, is the object of these Four Introduct.
be made to contribute towards defraying
OF THE CAUSES OF IMPROVEMENT IN THE PRODUC
TIVE POWERS OF LABOUR, AND OF THE ORDER
Of the Divison of Labour.
THE greateft improvement in the produc
BOOK 'HE 1.
tive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of la. bour.
The effects of the division of labour, in the general business of society, will be more easily understood, by considering in what manner it operates in some particular manufactures. It is commonly supposed to be carried furthest in some very trifling ones; not perhaps that it really is carried further in them than in others of more importance: but in those trifling manufactures which are destined to supply the small wants of but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen muft necessarily be small; and those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the same
workhouse, and placed at once under the view of CHA P. the spectator. In those great manufactures, on the contrary, which are destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs fo great a number of workmen, that it is impossible to collect them all into the fame workhouse. We can feldom see more, at one time, than those employed in one single branch. Though in such manufactures, therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts, than in those of a more trifling nature, the divifion is not near fo obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.
To take an example, therefore, from a very trifting manufacture; but one in which the divi. fion of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of the pin-maker ; a workman not educated to this business (which the division of labour has rendered a distinct trade), nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it to the invention of which the same divifion of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this business is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewise peculiar trades. 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