When Adam Smith spoke of the division of labor and specialization and exchange per his famous pin factory analogy, I don’t think he imagined the world we inhabit today. High labor productivity was supposed to be a liberating concept, as labor and capital combined to produce the basic goods and services for humanity at an increasingly efficient rate, thus freeing up labor to do other things with it’s time.
So, what has happened? It seems as though the exact opposite has taken place!
In short, the quaintness of the relatively free market brought on by the last industrial revolution has finally entered an era of excess complacency, excess regulation, and misplaced incentives. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight and the battle is still being fought, but the developed world has found itself in a precarious position today.
Instead of providing a higher quality of life for laborers, Adam Smith’s pin factory has brought about anxiety, boredom and disease. Being so specialized at one thing is actually a terrible thing. You forget how to be creative. You forget how to lead a healthy life style. You forget how to find inner peace. Ultimately you forget how to love.
The only reason the pin factory could be used for good is that it would reduce your laboring hours to the point of being tolerable. So, 5 hours a week in the pin factory isn’t so bad as long as you can spend more free time singing, dancing, making art, and spending time with family and friends. What has happened is that concentrated control of wealth and capital has insured that laborers will continue to work their boring jobs for 40+ hours a week while the balance sheets of the wealthy spiral upward. This is no coincidence, but rather by design. Giving people more free time will inevitably lead to the final stage of enlightenment and less governement.
So ask yourself, what kind of world do I want to live in?