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    Book I: Chapter 2

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    CHAPTER II.

    OF THE PRINCIPLE WHICH GIVES OCCASION TO
    THE DIVISION OF LABOUR.

    This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not
    originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that
    general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though
    very slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature,
    which has in view no such extensive utility ; the propensity to truck,
    barter, and exchange one thing for another.

    Whether this propensity be one of those original principles in human nature,
    of which no further account can be given, or whether, as seems more
    probable, it be the necessary consequence of the faculties of reason and
    speech, it belongs not to our present subject to inquire. It is common to
    all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know
    neither this nor any other species of contracts. Two greyhounds, in running
    down the same hare, have sometimes the appearance of acting in some sort of
    concert. Each turns her towards his companion, or endeavours to intercept
    her when his companion turns her towards himself. This, however, is not the
    effect of any contract, but of the accidental concurrence of their passions
    in the same object at that particular time. Nobody ever saw a dog make a
    fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.
    Nobody ever saw one animal, by its gestures and natural cries signify to
    another, this is mine, that yours ; I am willing to give this for that. When
    an animal wants to obtain something either of a man, or of another animal,
    it has no other means of persuasion, but to gain the favour of those whose
    service it requires. A puppy fawns upon its dam, and a spaniel endeavours,
    by a thousand attractions, to engage the attention of its master who is at
    dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man sometimes uses the same arts
    with his brethren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act
    according to his inclinations, endeavours by every servile and fawning
    attention to obtain their good will. He has not time, however, to do this
    upon every occasion. In civilized society he stands at all times in need of
    the co-operation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is
    scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. In almost every
    other race of animals, each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is
    entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the
    assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant
    occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect
    it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can
    interest their self-love in his favour, and shew them that it is for their
    own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to
    another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I
    want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such
    offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far
    greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from
    the benevolence of the butcher the brewer, or the baker that we expect our
    dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves,
    not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our
    own necessities, but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to
    depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar
    does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-disposed people,
    indeed, supplies him with the whole fund of his subsistence. But though
    this principle ultimately provides him with all the necessaries of life
    which he has occasion for, it neither does nor can provide him with them as
    he has occasion for them. The greater part of his occasional wants are
    supplied in the same manner as those of other people, by treaty, by barter,
    and by purchase. With the money which one man gives him he purchases food.
    The old clothes which another bestows upon him he exchanges for other
    clothes which suit him better, or for lodging, or for food, or for money,
    with which he can buy either food, clothes, or lodging, as he has occasion.

    As it is by treaty, by barter, and by purchase, that we obtain from one
    another the greater part of those mutual good offices which we stand in need
    of, so it is this same trucking disposition which originally gives occasion
    to the division of labour. In a tribe of hunters or shepherds, a particular
    person makes bows and arrows, for example, with more readiness and dexterity
    than any other. He frequently exchanges them for cattle or for venison, with
    his companions; and he finds at last that he can, in this manner, get more
    cattle and venison, than if he himself went to the field to catch them. From
    a regard to his own interest, therefore, the making of bows and arrows grows
    to be his chief business, and he becomes a sort of armourer. Another excels
    in making the frames and covers of their little huts or moveable houses. He
    is accustomed to be of use in this way to his neighbours, who reward him in
    the same manner with cattle and with venison, till at last he finds it his
    interest to dedicate himself entirely to this employment, and to become a
    sort of house-carpenter. In the same manner a third becomes a smith or a
    brazier; a fourth, a tanner or dresser of hides or skins, the principal part
    of the clothing of savages. And thus the certainty of being able to exchange
    all that surplus part of the produce of his own labour, which is over and
    above his own consumption, for such parts of the produce of other men's
    labour as he may have occasion for, encourages every man to apply himself to
    a particular occupation, and to cultivate and bring to perfection whatever
    talent of genius he may possess for that particular species of business.

    The difference of natural talents in different men, is, in reality, much less
    than we are aware of ; and the very different genius which appears to
    distinguish men of different professions, when grown up to maturity, is not
    upon many occasions so much the cause, as the effect of the division of
    labour. The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a
    philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so
    much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education. When they came in to
    the world, and for the first six or eight years of their existence, they
    were, perhaps, very much alike, and neither their parents nor play-fellows
    could perceive any remarkable difference. About that age, or soon after,
    they come to be employed in very different occupations. The difference of
    talents comes then to be taken notice of, and widens by degrees, till at
    last the vanity of the philosopher is willing to acknowledge scarce any
    resemblance. But without the disposition to truck, barter, and exchange,
    every man must have procured to himself every necessary and conveniency of
    life which he wanted. All must have had the same duties to perform, and the
    same work to do, and there could have been no such difference of employment
    as could alone give occasion to any great difference of talents.

    As it is this disposition which forms that difference of talents, so
    remarkable among men of different professions, so it is this same
    disposition which renders that difference useful. Many tribes of animals,
    acknowledged to be all of the same species, derive from nature a much more
    remarkable distinction of genius, than what, antecedent to custom and
    education, appears to take place among men. By nature a philosopher is not
    in genius and disposition half so different from a street porter, as a
    mastiff is from a grey-hound, or a grey-hound from a spaniel, or this last
    from a shepherd's dog. Those different tribes of animals, however, though
    all of the same species are of scarce any use to one another. The strength
    of the mastiff is not in the least supported either by the swiftness of the
    greyhound, or by the sagacity of the spaniel, or by the docility of the
    shepherd's dog. The effects of those different geniuses and talents, for
    want of the power or disposition to barter and exchange, cannot be brought
    into a common stock, and do not in the least contribute to the better
    accommodation and conveniency of the species. Each animal is still obliged
    to support and defend itself, separately and independently, and derives no
    sort of advantage from that variety of talents with which nature has
    distinguished its fellows. Among men, on the contrary, the most dissimilar
    geniuses are of use to one another ; the different produces of their
    respective talents, by the general disposition to truck, barter, and
    exchange, being brought, as it were, into a common stock, where every man
    may purchase whatever part of the produce of other men's talents he has
    occasion for,
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