Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Charles Babbage may indeed have invented the first computer, but he was also not at all shabby as an economist. He quite sensibly suggested that one significant advantage of the division of labor, overlooked by Adam Smith, was that subdividing the tasks made it possible to save on labor costs by hiring low-skilled specialists who were very adept at only one thing, and thus cheap. This simple "deskilling" argument strikes many of us as more compelling than any of the advantages proposed by the Adam.

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