Smith took as his example a manufacturer that produced simple, identical, small objects that are easy to quantify. That is a didactic master stroke to take pin factory as an example. But, Smith was convinced that what happened in such a pin factory can be observed in all the other manufacturers in England. The principle of the division of labour is similar everywhere. And the rise in what he calls the productive power of labour is in those other places just as spectacular. It is, he says, the multiplication of the production of all the different arts that causes the new opulence. This is why England has become so wealthy, and is still in the process of becoming richer and richer. It has not much to do with South African gold mines, it has not much to do with hard working farmers, it's the outcome of a fundamental change in the social structure of workplaces all over the country. It is the consequence of a fundamental sociological change. The first thing that contemporary readers will be reminded of when they read those pages is that the work in such a factory must be very boring to say the least for those who work in the factories. We of course are immediately reminded of what Karl Marx called alienated labor, the kind of work where the repetitive task of the proletarian labor has become completely detached from the finished end product. Those workers do not derive any kind of pride from their work. They may not even know what the product that comes out of the factory actually looks like. Adam Smith writing some 70 years before Marx was not unaware of that problem. In fact, he says that somebody who has to perform the same task over and over again, month after month, may become, and I quote him, as stupid and as ignorant as it is possible for a human being to become. He even thought about ways to offer factory workers some kind of education to compensate for the monotony of their work. But for Smith, the most important outcome of rise of productivity was what he called the universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Adam Smith sincerely believed that everybody would profit from the new wealth. The rich of course will become richer, but the poor will also become richer. Or to quote him, a general plenty diffuses itself through all the different ranks of society. Of course, this also has been contested by Karl Marx, who wrote that the profits go to the capitalist entrepreneurs and that the workers are exploited and impoverished. That brutal image of, on the one hand the appropriation of the surplus by the owners of the factories, and on the other hand, the povertization of the workers, that image is far removed from the more harmonious world of Adam Smith. Adam Smith applauds enthusiastically the rising productivity, the growing wealth that leads to more beautiful cities, more theaters, broader avenues, elegant concert halls, better universities, ensured, according to him, it leads to an advance in civilization. Fundamentally, the sociological view of Adam Smith is optimistic, radiating the happy glow of the enlightened. It's not difficult to criticize Adam Smith as over-optimistic, but let's not forget that he wrote his book at the moment when the process of industrialization was at its very first stages and that its darker sides were not yet as clear as in the days of Charles Dickens, one century later. Adam Smith was in fact very early with his penetrating thoughts about changing structure of the manufacturers because that phenomenon was of only a very recent date. It took a detached researcher and outsider, a university professor who was interested in the mundane world of pin factories to discover the principles of the new productivity. One thing that Smith noticed but did not elaborate on was the fact that the new division of labor created tasks that were so simple that an unschooled worker, yes, even a child could perform them. The dexterity that those tasks demand is acquired on the job and anyone can learn it in only a few days time. That is something that Smith noticed but he did not devote his attention to one of the consequences. When the owner of the manufacturer is not dependent on the craftsmanship of his laborers, when replacing one laborer for another is the easiest thing to do, then the power relation between the employer and the employee changes a little bit in favor of the boss. That became the theme in the sociological research into labor relations in the 19th and in the 20th century. And you could safely say that it is still a very important issue today.