Division Of Labor (Karl Marx And Adam Smith)


The division of Labor is mainly described by the father of the economic "Adam Smith". when did the Cherry Scotsman ask smith what increase the "wealth of the nation"? he came with the Answer of three words that are Division of Labor. It was the theory that describes the separation of the work into the groups. This essay would focus on the comparison of the famous economists Karl Marx and Adam smith. As they have a different view about this theory.

They provide different examples and different theories to clarify their point of Division of Labor. Specializing means the worker becomes very creative and perfect thus doing the same job.

Karl Marx At The Theory Of Division Of Labor

Karl Marx was a German philosopher and revolutionary socialist. He published the Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital. He had the main point(theory) about the Labor theory of value. He said that labor would not get the wages as they expected.

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The labor receives less value as they create. They do work for longer hours but, they get wages just to fulfil their basic needs.

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Like food, shelter, clothes. The capitalists (boss, owner) take advantage of thing. Here I would like to provide a real-life example. I worked at fruit factory, there are other workers too. Who do the same job at the same atmosphere? They get only 6$ per hour. It is half if I compared it with my salary. People are still doing work just to fulfill their basic needs. The manager(capitalist) is taking too much advantage from this. In the Division of Value Marx defines this term as Exploitation. As the worker will give some of the wages to the bosses. They just get Subsistence's wage instead just to live off of. Moreover, on the view of the Division of Labor, he was saying that "value of Product is determined by the amount of labor needed to produce it" (Todd G. Buchholz, pg. 131).

Apart from this the Labor theory on the Division, Marx said that the workers do work for longer days. They have less time for vacations. This thing brings Misery for the downtrodden laborers. The workers had a wealthy life before but, due to exploitation and division of labor they just able to buy the basic things. A quote "the knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated". (Todd G. Buchholz, pg. 135).

To Marx work plays a special role in human life. "people are impelled to create and improve their relations with other". When they do work in groups and shared their creativity. A human being can only become creative when they do creative work. But in the reality of capitalism labor just became the other commodity. They were forced to do dull jobs in their daily routines. They do same work for a long time. For instance, in India, the worker who do work in Banks. They come to the bank and sit on the chair and do work on the computers. They become the animated tools. They lost their creativity. The term according to Marx is known as the Alienation. 136. Their mind has controlled by the one work that they do as a daily routine. They do not make good relations with workers. They do work for long and did not get an equal amount of the wage. They did not get the "full Value "of their work.

On the other hand, Adam Smith have different views on this theory. Adam Smith gave the theory of the Division of the Labor. He was the Scottish Economist. He is the father of the Economic. He wrote a book of "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776. His one of the famous theories is Invisible Hand in free trade. His ideas focused on economic and political conversations. His idea on the free trade in which he said that the government would be not involved in the decisions that society make. People are self-interested to make their decision. They would lead to the efficiency of economic. Moreover, his idea on the Division of Labor, somehow different from Karl Marx. He was saying that each worker would develop more skills in a particular task. When the particular task was given to the worker it would increase the efficiency of work and speed.

Apart from this, there would be no wastage of time. When the worker will get different tasks then they need some time to learn the new task. When they switch wit one another, sometimes they need to change the uniform or the dress that used at the work. For example, at my work place, when the supervisor switches me with another worker then I need to change the gloves. It will take approximately 10 minutes to get start the new task. The same theory would be applied on me. When the worker does one work for long time, they will automatically become professional. They will do work fast. One of the famous examples that shows the specializing of the work. It is PIN factory25. Adam Smith explains the work strategies and the contribution of the task. Each worker gets different work from others. it shows the production of the PINS. According to him the efficiency of the work by dividing into different parts will increase productivity. It would impact on the wages that worker get. People would get wages according to their work. They will get wages according to the given tasks to the workers. "smith waned that Division of Labor leads to a Divergence in wage rates for different tasks. (Todd G. Buchholz, pg. 27).

Moreover, he said that some worker needs special training. The construction worker gets more money as compared to trained labourers. Because of the weather conditions. He provides so many work tasks and he compared it to the other workers. When people do work where they have threats of lost of life or any serious injuries then they get more wages. This is the wage study by Adam Smith.

Comparison Of Theories By Both Economists

Karl Marx was saying that people would lose their creativity. When a person will do one task as a daily routine, he/she will do work as a robot. When the worker performs tasks on the machines, they just become aligned tool. They would lose their relations with other workers. If they will perform well on one task, just imagine in an emergency situation a new worker can not perform well. He/she will do work at low speed. On the other side of the coin, Adam Smith was saying that people become specialized in the task. There will no wastage of the time. It would increase productivity. That further increases the Economic Growth of the country. It will also help to promote the business with international countries. In my point of view both economists are somehow right at their theories. By analyzing both theories, it seems that it has both positive and negative impacts on the workers. It is hard to say whether Adam Smith is right or Karl Marx. For productivity, the creativity cannot go into threat. It is also good point when a person will become perfect in one task, it would further have some advantages. There are few chances to make mistakes while doing work. But if a person does one job then how they will learn other tasks. In some emergency, they can handle a work if they did it earlier.


  • Buchholz, Todd G. New Ideas from Dead Economists: an Introduction to Modern Economic
  • New Ideas from Dead Economists: an Introduction to Modern Economic Thought. Plume, 2014.
  • Cohen, G. (1979). The Labor Theory of Value and the Concept of Exploitation. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 8(4), 338-360. Retrieved from
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
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Division Of Labor (Karl Marx And Adam Smith). (2019, Dec 03). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/division-of-labor-karl-marx-and-adam-smith-essay

Division Of Labor (Karl Marx And Adam Smith) essay
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