• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Views on Human Nature and the Division of Labour

Extracts from this document...


Views on Human Nature and the Division of Labour (Question #1) Margarita Banting Student Number: 43108026 FDNS 103.002 Seminar Group: U2C TA: Laura King October 31, 2002 Rousseau's, Smith's, and Marx's differing perspectives on human nature provides a basis for their reasoning on the division of labour. Rousseau believes that as man perfects his ability to reason concepts, the more corrupt he grows to be. With this belief, Rousseau reasons that man becomes corrupt when he creates the division of labour. Alternatively, Smith reasons that the division of labour exists because of man's instinct to "barter" (317). In contrast to Rousseau, he perceives the division of labour as advantageous to the economy. Lastly, Marx sees the division of labour between the proletarian and the bourgeois. Dependence, greed, and freedom are characteristics of human nature that allow the division of labour. The men seek an effective ideology that allows human error, and its vices to occur in society, without disrupting it. Rousseau argues that through the development of "education" and "habits", man has "been able to corrupt" himself (294). At the start of his progression, man's relationship with nature is simple and innocent; he is not yet aware of his ability to reason. But Rousseau notices that through time, man's abilities increase. Life, for him, becomes increasingly complicated. ...read more.


In civil societies, people live in an abundance of product. This abundance is a result of the presence of the division of labour. For example, in the art of pin making, several trades are practiced. One labourer "[draws] out the wire", another straightens it, a third cuts it, a fourth to point it, and a fifth to "grind it at the top for receiving the head" (316). If one man were to perform the five tasks, he would "scarce [...] make one pin in a day" (316). He would lack education in all the tasks and would also not be "acquainted with the use of machinery employed in it" (316). But with five men specializing in their respective trades, they are not only able to provide sufficient pins for themselves, but also a surplus is generated from the mass production of the pin. As a result, manufacturers are able to keep up with the demands of a populated society. The division of labour clearly serves as an advantage to the economy. Smith reasons that the division of labour originates from man's tendency to "barter" (317). Smith's saying, "Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want" (318), accurately expresses man's method of attaining his needs. Man trades in self-interest but depends on others' "co-operation and assistance" (318) ...read more.


pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze" until they "restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages" (453). Dependence, greed, and freedom are characteristics of human nature. If these characteristics are manipulated or ignored, destructive events could occur, as described by Marx in Communist Manifesto. The men, in search of an effective ideology, present their different views on human nature. Human nature is the basis upon which the men reason the causes of the division of labour. Since their perspectives are not identical, their reasons of the causes of the division of labour also are not identical. Rousseau sees human nature as progressive. From basic instincts come the ability to reason, and from reason comes the division of society. The inequality in the division then leads to the slow corruption of the society. Smith, on the other hand, sees the division of labour as an advantage to the economy because it stems from an innate tendency to trade. Marx sees the presence of the division of labour due to the innate vices that plague society. Out of greed, the bourgeois gain from the poor proletarians whom they depend on. But the proletarians retaliate and regain their essential freedom. While the men fail to seek a suitable ideology that gladly accommodates the vices of human nature, we witness the true power of its vices as it persists to plague man. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Work & Leisure section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Work & Leisure essays


    Education Acts introduced during the 1980s continued to emphasise the extent to which they represented instruments of social policy, and reflected contrasting political philosophies. These Acts quite specifically abandoned the principles of equality of opportunity and universal comprehensive education. Thus, the 1980 Education Act strengthened the provision of private schooling

  2. Describe and Discuss Gender Inequality in Contemporary Society with reference to the Labour Market

    two incomes are all factors which have generated a shift in traditional family patterns and significantly changed the gender division of labour. A UK Labour Force survey conducted in 2005 suggests that the rates of employment for women of working age have risen to 70% in 2004 compared to 56% in 1971.

  1. The Reason behind the Increase of Consumer debt and Materialism

    Moreover, these materialists often show signs of discontent and unhappiness in their life. Psychologists say that the more material objects one has, the higher the suicidal rate is. Most of your lifetime, you try to make money and buy stuff, illustrating how more priority is given to earning and spending rather than having quality time with your family and friends.

  2. "Society originates because the individual is not self sufficient and no two of us ...

    They "market their strength in return for wages"13. And thus Socrates concludes that "our complement of citizens seems to be complete"14. This city moves to its second stage in Book 2, Section 2 of the Republic where Glaucon, Socrates friend, protests at the "uncivilised nature of the life of this primitive society"15 calling it a "community of pigs"16.

  1. Argumentative Writing-Use of Third World Slave Labour

    I feel that these hours are far too long for any human being to work and the workers must become ill and consequently suffer. Many of these factories employ children who are ineligible to work in these places. About 250 million children between the ages five and fourteen work in sweatshops.

  2. study I am reviewing is "Are NHS patients becoming increasingly consumerist?".

    I'm also aided in my thinking of this by the fact the researcher has only displayed graphs of the three relevant questions. However these graphs are clearly displayed and easy for the reader to 4 understand the findings. In the three questions I am talking about the researcher has given

  1. Look at "Bookends" How does Harrison convey the nature of his relationship with his ...

    This portrayal is increased a few lines later when Harrison quotes his mother. " You're like bookends, the pair of you" This quote clearly demonstrates the mother's role within this family. The mother is what holds Harrison and his father together, keeps them talking and acting like father and son.

  2. Shadowing Reflection

    He took off down the hall and into his class. When I arrived he was in his seat taking out his paper and pencil to start the warm-up. He quickly completed the quick up and began talking to nearby classmates.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work