Roman Economic (Divison Of Labor)

Roman Economic Thought, Division of Labor

To take but a single example, consider the subject of division of labor. Adam Smith first fully de­veloped its economic aspect; but he rested upon Hume and Hutcheson. But Hume's footnotes are full of allusion to Roman writers, and Hutcheson expressly acknowledges his debt to Cicero on this very subject.1 From this it is not to be inferred that but for Cicero and his Greek predecessors there would have been no division-of-labor doctrine, nor that Cicero under­stood the full significance of such a doctrine. When, however, an idea becomes part of a system of thought, it gains a signifi­cance and richness of content that makes a case like the pre­ceding of some interest.