Essay on The Search For Opulence By Adam Smith

1124 Words Jun 29th, 2015 5 Pages
Dilemmas in the Search for Opulence
Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations endeavors to exhibit the natural qualities of society – a challenging task not to be overlooked. While Adam Smith’s examination of natural order outlines the relationship of exchange and society, his commentary on the education of the common worker displays the tensions created when applying law-like concepts to a complex civilization.
Smith begins Wealth of Nations with an integral example – that of the pin-maker. He suggests that the trade of pin making has branched out into several more specified trades (4). This branching of trades allows the pin maker to create a larger quantity of pins. This increased output is due to “three different circumstances; first, to the increase of dexterity in every particular workman; secondly, to the saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species of work to another; and lastly, to the invention of a great number of machines…” (7) For Smith, these three circumstances come about from natural causes, but these circumstances also have natural effects.
This division of labor allows for a certain natural order of causality in society. While the value of certain goods may fluctuate throughout time, the value of labor remains constant (36). Therefore, as the normal value of particular goods of exchange change over time relative to the constant value of labor, one can determine the extent of the division of labor. In this way the effects of this…

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