Obviously, the first economic advantage of division of labor is an increased production. The early shoemaker, by confining his attention to the making of shoes increased his skill, with the result that his product was greater than it had formerly been when he was compelled to tan his own leather. Likewise, the workers in a shoe factory become highly proficient in the few simple operations which they perform, and though their increased output may not be so evident as it was in the former case, it exists nevertheless. Division of labor has still another economic advantage. The few simple operations that characterize complex division of labor are easily learned, and for that reason no long period of training or apprenticeship is necessary, as was formerly the case. Consequently there is a saving of time both by the employee, who quickly becomes a skilled operative, and by the employer, who finds it unnecessary to spend any great amount of time in training his workmen. The chief economic advantage of division of labor, to repeat, is increased output, which is accomplished to a great extent through specialization, and through a saving of time formerly necessary to acquire skill.
Socially, there are advantages to be derived from complex division of labor. The same qualities that make workers industrially efficient and teach them to cooperate also develop the spirit of social service, and do much to rob the individual of his selfishness. Men who work together all day are easily organized into unions and social clubs. Their close contact in industry gives them a common interest and assists in creating a social solidarity.
Division of labor produces yet another social advantage. With increased production it is no longer necessary for workers to labor twelve or fourteen hours a day. Moreover, the workers themselves through organization have become stronger, and better able to secure their demands. These two forces have combined to shorten the labor day, and correspondingly to increase the daily periods of leisure. The result is that workers in specialized lines have more time for recreation, for social intercourse, and for self-education.