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Ideal of labour is often saved by arranging work so that a labourer may serve many persons as easily as one. If a messenger is going to carry a letter to the post-office, he can as readily carry a score. Instead
of twenty people each carrying their own letters, one messenger can do the whole work without more trouble. This explains why the post-office is able to forward a letter from any part of the kingdom to any other part for a penny or even a halfpenny. There are so many people sending and receiving letters, that a postman usually carries a great many, and often delivers half-a-dozen at once. But it would be quite impossible to send telegrams so cheaply, because every message has to be separately telegraphed along the wires, and then delivered at once by a special messenger, who can seldom carry more than one message at a time. Archbishop Whately pointed out that when a party of travellers exploring a new country camp out at night, they naturally divide the work: one attends to the horses, another unpacks the stores, a third makes a fire and cooks the supper, a fourth goes for water, and so on. It would be quite absurd if a dozen travellers in one party were to light a dozen separate fires, and cook a dozen separate meals. The labour of lighting a fire and cooking for twelve persons is not much greater than doing the same for one or two. There are many things which,
if once done, will serve for thousands or millions of people. If a person gets important information, as, for instance, that a storm is coming across the Atlantic Ocean, he can warn a whole nation by means of the newspapers. It is a great benefit to have a meteorological office in London, where two or three men spend their labour in learning the weather all over the country by means of the telegraph, and thus enable us to judge, as far as possible, of the weather which is coming. This is a good case of the multiplication of services.
28. The Multiplication of Copies is also a
means of increasing immensely the produce of labour. When the proper tools and models for making a thing are once provided, it is sometimes possible to go on multiplying copies with little further trouble. To cut the dies for striking a medal or coin is a very slow and costly work; but, when once good dies are finished, it is easy to strike a great many coins with them, and the cost of the striking is very small. The printing press, however, is the best case of multiplication of copies. To have the whole of Shakespeare's Plays copied out by a law stationer would cost more than two hundred pounds, and every new copy would cost as much as the first. Before the invention of printing, books used to be thus copied out, and manuscript books were therefore very expensive, besides being full of mistakes. The whole of Shakespeare's Plays can now be bought for a shilling; and any one of the Waverley Novels can be had for sixpence. It may cost several hundred pounds to set up the type for a large book and stereotype it; but when this is once done, hundreds of thousands of copies can be struck off, and the cost of each copy is little more than that of the paper and the binding.
Almost all the common things we use now, such as ordinary chairs and tables, cups and saucers, teapots, spoons and forks, &c., are made by machinery, and are copies of an original pattern. A good chair can be bought for five shillings or less, but if you wanted to have a chair made of a new pattern, it would cost perhaps five or ten times as much.
29. Personal Adaptation. A further advantage of the division of labour is that, when there are many different trades, every person can choose that trade for which he is best suited-the strong healthy man becomes a blacksmith; the weaker one works a loom or makes shoes; the skilful man learns to be a watchmaker; the most ignorant and unskilful can find work in breaking stones or mending the hedges. Each man will generally work at the trade in which he can get
the best wages, and it is an evident loss of skill if the artisan should break stones or sweep the streets. Now, the greater the division of labour and the more extensive factories become, the better chance there is for finding an employment just suited to each person's powers; clever workmen do the work which no one else can do; they have common labourers to help them in things which require no skill; foremen plan out the work, and allot it to the artisans; clerks, who are quick at accounts, keep the books, and pay and receive money; the manager of the factory is an ingenious experienced man, who can give his whole attention to directing the work, to making good bargains, or to inventing improvements in the business. Every one is thus occupied in the way in which his labour will be most productive and useful to other people, and at the same time most profitable to himself.
30. Local Adaptation. Lastly, the division of labour allows of local adaptation-that is, it allows every kind of work to be done in the place most suitable for it. We have already learnt (sec. 22, p. 29) that each kind of labour should be carried on where it is most productive; but this cannot be done unless there be division of labour-so that while the French grow wine, weave silk, or make articles de Paris, they buy the cottons of Manchester, the beer of Burton-onTrent, or the coals of Newcastle. When trade is free, and the division of labour is perfect, each town or district learns to make some commodity better than other places: watches are made in Clerkenwell; steel pens in Birmingham; needles at Redditch; cutlery at Sheffield; pottery at Stoke ; ribbons at Coventry; glass at St. Helen's; straw bonnets at Luton; and so forth.
It is not always possible to say exactly why certain goods are made better in one place-for instance, silks in Lyons-than anywhere else; but so it often is, and people should be left as free as possible to buy the goods they like best. Commodities are manufactured
in order that they may produce pleasure and be useful, not, as we shall see, in order that labourers may be kept hard at work. Now, when trade is left free it gives rise to division of labour, not only between town and town, county and county, but between the most distant nations of the earth. Thus is created what may be called the territorial division of labour. Commerce between nation and nation is not only one of the best means of increasing wealth and saving labour, but it brings us nearer to the time when all nations will live in harmony, as if they were but one nation.
31. The Combination of Labour. We now see what great advantages arise from each man learning a single trade thoroughly. This is called the division of labour, because it divides up the work into a great many different operations; nevertheless, it leads men to assist each other, and to work together in manufacturing the same goods. Thus, in producing a book, a great many trades must assist each other: type-founders cast the type; mechanics make the printing press; the paper is manufactured at the paper works; printers' ink is prepared at other works; the publishers arrange the business; the author supplies the copy; the compositors set up the type; the reader corrects the proofs; the pressmen work off the printed sheets; then there are still the bookbinders, and the booksellers, besides a great many other small trades which supply the tools wanted by the principal trades. Thus, society is like a very complicated machine, in which there is a great number of wheels, and wheels within wheels; each part goes on attending to its own business, and doing the same work over and over again. There is what we should call a complex organization (Greek, öpyavov, instrument), that is to say, different people and different trades work as instruments of each other, all assisting in the ultimate result.
But it is to be observed that nobody plans out these systems of divided labour; indeed few people ever know how many trades there are, and how they are
connected together. There are said to be about thirtysix distinct kinds of employment in making and putting together the parts of a piano; there are about forty trades engaged in watchmaking; in the cotton business there are more than a hundred occupations. But new trades are frequently created, especially when any new discovery takes place; thus, there are at least sixteen different trades occupied in photography, or in making the things required by photographers; and railways have produced whole series of employments which did not exist fifty years ago. These trades arise without any Act of Parliament to make them or allow them. There is no law to say how many trades there shall be, nor how many people shall go into each trade, because nobody can tell what will be wanted in future years. These things are arranged by a kind of social instinct. Each person takes up the kind of work which seems to suit him and to pay him best at the time.
Another and a totally different kind of combination of labour arises when men arrange to assist each other in doing the same work. Thus, sailors pulling at the same rope combine their labour together; other instances are, carrying the same ladder, rowing the same boat, and so forth. In this case there is said to be simple combination of labour, because the men do the same sort of work. When the men have different operations to perform, there is said to be complex combination of labour, as when one man points a pin and another makes the head. On board a ship there is both simple and complex combination. When several men work at the same capstan the combination is simple, because one man does exactly the same as the others. But the captain, mate, steersman, carpenter, boatswain, and cook work together in complex combination, since each attends to his own proper duties. Similarly, in a company of soldiers the privates act together in simple combination, but the officers of different ranks have distinct duties to perform, so that