Rhetoric and logic in Smith's Description of the Division of Labor

Abstract : This article analyses the first chapter of the Wealth of Nations, where the division of labor is defined and its effects described. It first shows the rhetoric and logical effects which are used to win the reader's goodwill. Then it reviews 19 th century debates on the validity of the theory. Lastly it cites three real cases where the division of labor does not increase the productive power of labor. In conclusion, it suggests that the theory on division of labor appears to require some adjustment, while acknowledging that some of the facts underlying arguments in its support are naturally true. 2 Rhetoric and Logic in Smith's Description of the Division of Labor Abstract: This article analyses the first chapter of the Wealth of Nations, where the division of labor is defined and its effects on productivity described. It first shows the rhetoric and logical effects which are used to win the reader's goodwill. Then it reviews 19 th century debates on the validity of the theory. Lastly it cites three real cases where the division of labor does not increase the productive power of labor. In conclusion, it suggests that the theory on division of labor appears to require some adjustment, while acknowledging that some of the facts underlying arguments in its support are naturally true. " The division of labour so far as it can be introduced, occasions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour.
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Jean-Louis Peaucelle. Rhetoric and logic in Smith's Description of the Division of Labor. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2012, 19 (3), pp.385-408. ⟨10.1080/09672567.2010.499473⟩. ⟨hal-01402198⟩

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