- Cafe Hayek - https://cafehayek.com -

On the Division of Labor

Tweet [1]

Thanks to Cafe patron David Dansky for this wonderful quotation from the Babylonian Talmud — a quotation that captures very nicely what Adam Smith meant when he wrote in 1776 [2] that “man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren”:

Ben Zoma [a Talmudic sage] once saw a crowd on one of the steps of the Temple Mount. He said, Blessed is He that discerneth secrets, and blessed is He who has created all these to serve me. [For] he used to say: What labours Adam had to carry out before he obtained bread to eat! He ploughed, he sowed, he reaped, he bound [the sheaves], he threshed and winnowed and selected the ears, he ground [them], and sifted [the flour], he kneaded and baked, and then at last he ate; whereas I get up, and find all these things done for me. And how many labours Adam had to carry out before he obtained a garment to wear! He had to shear, wash [the wool], comb it, spin it and weave it, and then at last he obtained a garment to wear; whereas I get up and find all these things done for me. All kinds of craftsmen5 [3] come early to the door of my house, and I rise in the morning and find all these before me.

Here’s the link [4] to the longer passage from which the above quotation is taken.

Comments