Monday, February 11, 2008

Jean Louis Peaucelle's Paper on Pin-Making and Wealth Of Nations


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I received a PDF file from Jean Louis Peaucelle [jean-louis.peaucelle@univ-reunion.fr] discussing the famous pin-making example from Wealth Of Nations and I have posted it for wider circulation:

Find attached in PDF format a manuscript about capture of economic data beginnings in the context of pin-making during the eighteenth century in France. In particular, it contains a report of labour rhythms measured for some pin-making operations in 1700.

Besides, I rediscovered the documents that Adam Smith read about pin-making (the sources about which spoke Adam Ferguson). These documents are published in France, see:
Peaucelle, 2006, “Adam Smith’s use of multiple references for his pin-making example”, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 13:4, 489-512.

Altogether, I revisited how Adam Smith built his theory about division of labour. I examined three topics:
- The documents about pin-making published in the eighteenth century, and all these documents were published in France;
- The real process of the pin-making, in craft shops in Paris or London, and the more industrialized process in Holland, Normandy and in Gloucester (UK);
- The economic reasoning about this pin-making industry, including the Adam Smith theory and the Charles Babbage theory.

The question that arises is the following: Is the theory about division of labour true in the case of pin-making?

This work was published in French.

Jean Louis Peaucelle

ftp.adamsmithslostlegacy.com/Pinmaking-Billettes.pdf

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