Petr G. Shchedrovitsky

Adam Smith’s Ideas on the Division of Labor

division of labor adam smith economic theory


Adam Smith’s exposition of the topic of division of labor was not only unoriginal, but also not particularly profound or thoroughgoing. Presenting the matter in the way it is often done in modern works, namely as if “The Wealth of Nations” addressed basically everything that economic and social sciences could say about it, would be a big mistake. The actual significance of the first three chapters of this book for economic and social sciences rather lies in the fact that Smith outlined with “dotted lines”, so to say, a number of key aspects which served as stimuli for and sources of inspiration for several subsequent generations of researchers dealing with issues related to division of labor in one way or another. As such, “The Wealth of Nations”, indeed, played an important role in the history of thought, and continues to play it to this day.