Greetings astute traveller, this website now exists for historical reasons.

Much has been learned since 2006. I urge you to keep exploring the evolution of information through other websites.

Author Topic: Economics: the division of labour  (Read 6183 times)

Offline Matt Emery

  • Administrator
  • Tribal Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
  • Karma: +6/-0
    • View Profile
    • Caveman Power
Economics: the division of labour
« on: March 06, 2008, 10:01:36 PM »
This is quite a lofty topic, but I shall do my best to articulate my thoughts...

The term division of labour refers to the fact that in a modern economy, almost no one produces all or most of what they personally consume. People don’t grow their own food, treat their own illnesses, build their own homes, and make their own tools. Instead, with the division of labour, most individual workers perform highly focused tasks, earn income, and use what they have earned to purchase goods and services produced by others who also perform highly focused tasks.

The division of labour increases production dramatically.  Specialising in a certain job allows workers with different characteristics to focus on the types of production in which they have an advantage.  Workers who specialise typically become more productive.

In my opinion, specialisation increases the incongruence between our human genes and our human lifestyles, especially in affluent Western nations.  If left to our own devices amidst a wild environment, most of us would be likely to suffer starvation, hypothermia, or illness.  Whilst this not a cathartic problem because of the modern environment we exist in, it does have some deeper existential implications.

My question therefore is this; do you feel repressed, due to the division of labour?

"Be true to your biology"

Offline Phanatic

  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2008, 08:06:52 PM »
Hey Matt,
New to the board, but checked out the site a while back and agreed with it. Myself I am a fan of intermittent fasting, learnt it from the Warrior Diet, but consider paleo eating better than what Ori suggests: loads of carbs and avoiding fats that aren't nuts and seeds. Although he may have a point about the fat in commercial meat and dairy, from what I've heard it contains dioxin etc. Anyway, wanted to say that I like the site.

I do feel that division of labour is somewhat er, unnatural. I'd like to be able to grow my own fruit trees and vegetables in an natural, organic way that enriches or at least doesn't harm the soil I grow it in. Unfortunately this is not a possibility as I am a student living with my parents (who believe a lot of commercial propaganda, fat is bad etc) but I'd like to be able to in the future. I would love to be able to do more with nature, instead of studying to gain qualifications to work in a desk-job. As for illnesses, well, I haven't had any since eating a more natural diet and IF.
Cheers from a caveman in New Zealand,
Mike.

Offline Matt Emery

  • Administrator
  • Tribal Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
  • Karma: +6/-0
    • View Profile
    • Caveman Power
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 08:29:51 PM »
I definitely agree that domesticated animals produce unhealthy fats in general.

I too would like to actualise myself more holistically than the division of labour requires, and I believe that this constriction is one of many that is robbing modern humans of contentment, which in my opinion; is an inalienable right.

You may enjoy this discussion too http://www.cavemanpower.com/forum/school_is_partly_responsible_for_the_dehuminisation_of_children_opinion-t120.0.html
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Phanatic

  • Hunter
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2008, 03:20:36 AM »
Right to contentment.....you know I had never really thought about that before. You have a lot of interesting ideas that challenge the status quo (which as far as I'm concerned, is almost always a good thing). I once read a quote I found noteworthy: "80% of conventional thinking is wrong" and as time goes by, it proves itself again and again.

Offline Matt Emery

  • Administrator
  • Tribal Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
  • Karma: +6/-0
    • View Profile
    • Caveman Power
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2008, 03:37:12 AM »
Right to contentment.....you know I had never really thought about that before. You have a lot of interesting ideas that challenge the status quo (which as far as I'm concerned, is almost always a good thing). I once read a quote I found noteworthy: "80% of conventional thinking is wrong" and as time goes by, it proves itself again and again.

Thanks mate.  There has been research conducted into "the wisdom of crowds" which shows that the assertions of the majority of a group (group-think) is often incorrect.  Which for me; is refreshing to know :)
"Be true to your biology"

Offline GaryR55

  • Cub
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2008, 04:33:41 PM »
Good thread, Matt. While I don't see a way out of the present dependence upon the division of labor (at least, none that wouldn't require generations to come about), I can see your point. There are times I would, personally, like to be able to at least make my income from all of the several talents I possess, thus becoming more self-actualizing, and perhaps providing a better lifestyle for myself. However, at the same time, I realize that I do some things better than others and so I might have to limit myself to just two things I do well: the one I'm employed at now (architectural drafting/CAD) and the one I aspire to (writing). I have other skills/talents, as well, but I don't believe I could generate much income from them.

I'm afraid that in our present society, most of us simply aren't equipped with the skills, knowledge and talents to build our own shelter (I could design my own, but I'm all thumbs with tools), make our own clothing, etc. The days of the self-reliant pioneer are long gone. Instead, today we are a society of wimps who, if the grocery stores ceased to exist, would starve to death.

Our dependence upon the division of labor is a lot like the dietary wrong turn mankind took 10,000 years ago, when we got off onto cultivating grains and domesticating livestock for dairy. In both instances, we've gone too far down the wrong road to turn back. In the case of diet, it's a sad fact that most of the world's population can't afford meat and, instead, subsists on a grain-based diet, replete with all the dietary illnesses that come with that, including rickets and scurvy. So, there is really not much hope for those in the Third World ever returning to a paleolithic diet. We in the affluent nations can afford it, so only a very small segment of the world's population will ever get back to eating the way our ancestors did. Same thing with the division of labor. We've gone too far away from the days when everyman fulfilled all the functions and executed all the tasks he needed to survive in the world. Today, most of the world are dependent upon others and those others are dependent upon us. But, consider that these two paths are what lead us to "civilization," in the first place. Without cultivation of crops and domestication of animals, we would have remained nomadic hunter-gatherers. It was this grounding in agriculture that allowed man to  live in permanent settlements, which evolved into cities. It was the division of labor that allowed us to expand our civilization to unimaginable sophistication and complexity. The road back to where we were is harder one to follow than staying on the same path, at least as most people see it. As long as people are more concerned about where they left the remote and what game's on TV tonight than they are about learning the skills they'd need to survive in the wild, if they had to, we will probably continue as we have been, as sad as that is.

Offline Matt Emery

  • Administrator
  • Tribal Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
  • Karma: +6/-0
    • View Profile
    • Caveman Power
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2008, 05:15:41 PM »
Hi Gary, thanks for posting :)

The Neolithic Revolution was indeed a turning point for the human species.  And although it was perhaps an inevitability (considering the large brain humans posses) we've mismanaged our abilities and consequently squandered our human contentment - the means have become the ends.

I would like to see another Age of Enlightenment.  I believe that if more people knew about the history of civilisation, there would be more people asking questions as to why we are working harder than we have have in the history of mankind.  I think people would come to see that the inefficiency of modern industrial life would need a thorough review.

I think that mankind could work 15-20 hours a week and actually achieve a greater level of overall contentment than what is available at present.

Humans aren't stupid.  We'll eventually see what's going on when the frustration becomes unbearable, and take action.  I have faith that humans will put things right, just like we always have throughout the history of civilisation.
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Seeker

  • Scout
  • **
  • Posts: 62
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 06:44:20 AM »
While these notions are all good and well, and I do indeed think this way myself to an extent; The fact remains that most people would never want to go back to the "old days". They want their TVs, cars, electricity, internet, air-conditioning, dinners out in restaurants, golf courses, designer clothes, luxury apartments, etc and nothing would ever convince them otherwise. The idea of toiling in the dirt just to live, let alone make any profit or get ahead, is horrible to most. It really is as simple as that.

The best we can hope to achieve is to open peoples eyes to these ideas and support and nurture the ones who do choose to change.

Offline Matt Emery

  • Administrator
  • Tribal Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1601
  • Karma: +6/-0
    • View Profile
    • Caveman Power
Re: Economics: the division of labour
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008, 06:52:33 AM »
The best we can hope to achieve is to open peoples eyes to these ideas and support and nurture the ones who do choose to change.

Precisely.
"Be true to your biology"