What is Division of labor in Microeconomics- Everything you need to know!

The division of labour has played a critical role in the development of really productive enterprises and factories. Without a doubt, breaking down the manufacturing process into tasks has resulted in considerable advancements in the sector, including the creation of skilled and significantly more competent people as well as the ability to produce in large quantities. What is the nature of the division of labour?

When it comes to the creation of a thing or service, the division of labour refers to the division of the many jobs that must be completed as part of the manufacturing process. Because the manufacturing process is separated into stages, workers can specialize in certain jobs that will be performed by a specific set of individuals.

Consequently, it can be stated that the division of labour is the origin of specialization of work, which consists in the fragmentation of a good or service's production process into different tasks that will be carried out by specific individuals, depending on the strength, ability or speciality of the workers. The division of labour is also the origin of specialized labour. 

All of this contributed to a significant rise in the productivity and performance of factories and businesses, which resulted in higher earnings for everyone involved. In a nutshell, the division of labour is seen as a crucial phenomenon in the evolution of nations' economies.

The division of labour has certain characteristics!

As a result of the division of labour, the following features are observed:

  • Differentiation of capacities: The duties are split according to the capacities of the employees so that they will hold the positions that are most appropriate for their capacities.
  • Worker learning via repetition: Workers who repeatedly do the tasks associated with their employment develop become experts in that particular activity.
  • Increased productivity: Because the worker is always completing the same activity, time is saved by not having to switch from one task to another. As a result, time that would be lost by switching from one task to another is not squandered.

The origins and development of the division of labour!

With the emergence of industries such as trade or handicrafts, the necessity for a work structure that ensured the safety of employees became apparent, resulting in the establishment of the division of labour as we know it today. However, the advancement of technology in the performance of the duties resulted in a rise in the productivity of the industries, which resulted in a surplus of manufactured goods.

The division of work emerged in response to the social, geographical, and technical circumstances of the period so that those individuals who were not engaged in agriculture or cattle could continue to feed themselves as a result of this division of labour. This arises as a result of the production excess, which has previously been described, and which is the outcome of a much more competitive and productive industrial environment. 

However, and despite the fact that the division of labour was directly linked to the creation of a surplus of production, the truth is that this method of organizing production in the industries paved the way for a more multifarious and diversified method of organizing society. There are two opposing perspectives on the division of labour held by Adam Smith and Karl Marx.

Many economists and intellectuals have looked into the division of labour, but among the most influential theorists in this field are Adam Smith and Karl Marx, who both had quite different perspectives on the same topic in their respective lifetimes.

1. The Theory of Adam Smith!

In the view of Adam Smith, an economist of Scottish origin, the division of labour is one of the most important factors contributing to the prosperity of the states, since this method of organizing industry has significantly enhanced the productivity of factories. Entrepreneurs were able to save significant sums of money as a result of this new work environment, according to Smith.

Workers were becoming increasingly specialized in the tasks they did as a result of the division of labour, which translated into the greater experience and higher excellence in their performance. Furthermore, the division of labour allowed for the technological development of tasks, which is to say, the invention of new techniques and tools, as well as an increase in the efficiency of the activity.

In addition to the advantages of the division of labour, Adam Smith recognized the drawbacks, laying particular attention on the division of pay, that is, the salary inequalities that arose between employees depending on the jobs that they did. Apart from that, Smith recognized that the division of labour impeded the growth of knowledge because of the boredom that resulted from completing the same tasks over and over again.

2. The Theory of Karl Marx!

Marx, the founder of socialism, saw that the specialization that resulted from the division of labour would create a slew of issues. As a result, the monotony that defines this method of arranging labour causes discontent among the workers, who did not have to undergo extensive training in order to do repetitive duties.

According to Marx, the division of labour had its origins in the working class's reliance on the upper classes, which resulted in the lower classes of society gaining social power via the use of force.

Without a question, the division of labour offers several benefits, but it also has numerous negatives that must be considered as well.


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