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Lecture

SOSC 1340 - october 19 lecture.docx

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Department
Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1340
Professor
John Simoulidis

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SOSC 1340 – October 19, 2010 “*The Division of labour+ is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature...the propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another” “Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want” “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard for their own self-interest” - Origin of the division of labour is within human nature Lecture 1 Outline - Smith’s critique of mercantilism and his Theory of Capitalism - His view of human nature - His conception of the division of labour - Technological innovation - Social consequences of D of L - Library Research Assignment: Austerity Adam Smith (1723-1790) - Scottish political economist and considered a champion of capitalism - Critiqued then dominant Mercantilist economic policy and practice - Aware of power relations that are changing - Claimed the public good would best be served by individuals pursuing their own self-interest - Critique of ‘mercantilist economic doctrine’ - Wealth is not the amount of money held in the national treasury but depends on the productivity of labour (labour theory of value) o The more you expand the economy the more you increase D of L - D of L presupposes the existence of markets - What is the division of labour? Surplus Production - Markets the expression of ‘man’s natural propensity to truck, barter and trade’ - Suggests an understanding of capitalism as ‘natural’ and that is has always existed - Said ‘it is better to be good at one thing that you can produce very well’ - Traditional view: social position determined by/at birth – but ideology of divine right of kings eroded with the emergence of the modern state - The emergence of the capitalist market: Smith proposes a new conception of human nature consistent with this: self-interested individuals - The ‘opulence’ of a “civilized country” is only possible due to the “assistance and cooperation of many thousands” of workers - How do we get self-interested individuals to cooperate? We need help to survive in a ‘civilized country’. Where do we get it? Friends? Community? Exchange through the market - Organize our market and each other to depend on each other and the division of labour in a very anti-social way o We do not know who makes our products, how they make it, the working conditions Division of Labour - Pin factory illustration - The more extensive the division of labour, the more productive labour is - Extension of division of labour driven by ‘large wants’ (limited by small wants) – this presupposes the existence of markets in which surplus is exchanged (‘spinners and weavers’) - Specialization the mark of “improved society”: “the labour.. which is necessary to produce any one complete manufacture is almost always divided among a great number of hands” Technological Innovation - How does specialization improve productivity? o Improves dexterity of worker, efficiency of motion, introduction of machinery - How do innovations arise? o From the workers themselves 9boy on a fire-engine) o From the makers of machines (a particular trade) o From philosophers (creative thinkers) - Resulting ‘opulence’ “extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people” Social Consequences of D of L - Specialization and the Market: - “by reducing every man’s business to some on simple operation, and by making this operation the sole employment of his ...” o Cogs in a machine? (compare Marx on alienation) o From nurturing many talents to specializing in the one that will fetch the highest price in the market o Extreme dependence on the labour of others, but in a highly depersonalized, anti-social way Analyzing Arguments: Library Research Assignment - What makes something like austerity a social issued instead
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