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Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine.
ye five other wand'ring fires that move
ye that warble, as ye flow, Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls: ye birds,
E. G. WAKEFIELD. [THE following is extracted from a Note on the First Chapter of the First Book of Adam Smith's · Wealth of Nations,' published in an edition of that celebrated work which appeared in 1870. The author of this Note is well known as a political economist, whose plans of colonization have attracted more attention than is usually bestowed by statesmen upon what they term theory.]
All improvements in the productive powers of labour, including division of employments, depend upon co-operation.
Co-operation appears to be of two distinct kinds: first, such ca operation as takes place when several persons help each other in the same employment; secondly, such co-operation as takes place when several persons help each other in different employments. These may be termed simple co-operation and complex co-operation. It will be seen presently, that, until men help each other in simple operations, they cannot well help each other in operations which consist of several parts.
The advantage of simple co-operation is illustrated by the case of two greyhounds running together, which, it is said, will kill more hares than four greyhounds running separately. In a vast number of simple operations performed by human exertion, it is quite obvious that two men working together will do more than four, or four times four men, each of whom should work alone: in the lifting of heavy weights, for example, in the felling of trees, in the sawing of timber, in the gathering of much hay or corn during a short period of fine weather, in draining a large extent of land during the short season when such a work may be properly conducted, in the pulling of ropes on board ship, in the rowing of large boats, in some mining operations, in the erection of a scaffolding for building, and in the breaking of stones for the repair of a road, so that the whole of the road shall always be kept in good order,-in all these simple operations, and thousands more, it is absolutely necessary that many persons should work together, at the same time, in the same place, and in the same way. The savages of New Holland never help each other, even in the most simple operations; and their condition is hardly superior, in some respects it is inferior, to that of the wild animals which they now and then catch. Let any one imagine that the labourers of England should suddenly desist from helping each other in simple employments, and he will see at once the prodigious advantages of simple co-operation. In a countless number of employments the produce of labour is, up to a certain point, in proportion to such mutual assistance amongst the workmen. This is the first step in social improvement. A single person, working entirely by himself, either in hunting or in cultivating the earth, will not, it seems plain, obtain more food than what he requires for his own subsistence: several persons combining their labour, in the most simple operations, either of the chase or of agriculture, will obtain more food than they require—they will obtain a surplus produce, which surplus produce may either be used as capital for the employment of more labourers, whereby the produce, in proportion to the hands at work, will be still further increased; or it may be given in exchange for some other kind of produce, provided always that some other body of workmen have combined their labour, and have so obtained, of some other kind of produce, more than they require for themselves. This possession of capital, and this power of exchanging, both of them being strictly dependent on the greater productiveness of labour arising from simple Co-operation, constitute the second step in social improvement. One body of men having combined their labour to raise more food than they require, another body of men are induced to combine their labour for the purpose of producing more clothes than they require, and, with those surplus clothes, buying the surplus food of the other body of labourers; while, if both bodies together have produced more food and clothes than they both require, both bodies obtain, by means of exchange, a proper capital for setting more labourers to work in their respective occupations. What is true of two bodies of men applies to any number of bodies, however great the difference in their occupations; and thus we perceive that the division of employments, the power of exchanging, and the possession of a capital as well, depend on the combination of labour in simple operations.
The use of capital, and not the power but the act of exchanging, and, further, the division of employments, are still dependent on something else than simple co-operation; they are all dependent also upon arrangements, agreements, concert, or combination, of a general kind, in which the whole society takes a part, and which, for want of a better expression, may be termed complex co-operation.
When a body of men raise more food than they want, and employ that surplus food as capital, paying it in wages to other labourers, those other labourers act in concert or combination with those capitalists : it is only by means of concert, or co-operation, that the body who raise more food than they want can exchange with the body who raise more clothes than they want; and if the two bodies were separated, either by distance or disinclination, unless the two bodies should virtually form themselves into one, for the common object of raising enough food and clothes for the whole, they could not divide into two distinct parts the whole operation of producing a sufficient quantity of food and clothes. The division of pursuits, then, into the management of capital and such occupations as are carried on by muscular exertion, all division of employments, and all exchanges, result from co-operation amongst men; not only simple co-operation, which first raises capital and surplus produce for exchange, but also complex co-operation, which enables the rich man to employ his capital and the poor one to consume it, and which includes all the means, over and above surplus produce, for practising exchange, and division of employments amongst different bodies of men.
Before we proceed to the practical conclusions which may be drawn from this principle, it seems right to notice an important distinction between simple and complex co-operation. Of the former, one is always conscious at the time of practising it: it is obvious to the most ignorant and vulgar eye. Of the latter, but a few of the vast numbers who practise it-are in any degree conscious. The cause of this distinction is easily seen. When several men are employed in lifting the same weight, or pulling the same rope, at the same time, and in the same place, there can be no sort of doubt that they co-operate with each other ; the fact is impressed on the mind by the mere sense of sight; but when several men, or bodies of men, are employed at different times and places, and in different pursuits, their co-operation with each other, though it may be quite as certain, is not so readily perceived as in the other case. In order to perceive it, a complex operation of the mind is required. And here, perhaps, we may discover the occasion of Adam Smith's error in confounding division of labour with division of employments, which are really incompatible with one another. “The division of employments,” he says, “ is commonly supposed to be carried farthest in some very trifling manufactures, not, perhaps, that it really is carried farther 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 must necessarily be small; and those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected in the same work, house, and placed at once under the view of 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 employs so great a number of workmen, that it is impossible to collect them all into the same work-house. We can seldom 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 division is not near so obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.” If the division of employments had been equally plain under all circumstances, Adam Smith would never, probably, have called it division of labour; he would not have done so, assuredly, if the complex co-operation which, by the aid of exchange, gives rise to the division of employments, had been as obvious as simple co-operation, which originally provides surplus produce for exchange. But, be that as it may, there is this analogy between division of employments and complex cooperation, that both are most easily perceived when the labourers who practise them work in the same place, and are not to be perceived with