On Pins and Manufacture
Keywords:Ping-making, Division of Labour, Adam Smith, Encyclopedism
AbstractTwo questions remain unanswered despite the many years elapsed. Why did Adam Smith chose a primitive needle manufacturing shop to dwelve in the advantages of the technical division of labour when the Industrial Revolution had already shown effects even in the Scottish counties and given birth to more complex productive organizations? Did he really visit the shop from which so many and sometimes erroneous conclusions he extracted? In recent times, there is a growing suspicion that it was the reading of the many articles through which the mostly French encyclopedists tried to take a close look at the technical process through which the wire is transformed in needles
the main source of inspiration of the Scotsman who, finally, would have been more a reader of other people’s texts than a direct observer of the economic activity. However, due to his writings needles have attained a substantial literary role.
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