On Friday, I spoke about the fact that many people may be more talented than other people. We have different skills, and it is 100% false to say that everyone is equally good at everything. Every single stitch of experiential evidence points to the fact that we are better at some things and worse at some things than other people.
If that is true, then there are some very important implications for creativity and community. When we engage in these types of endeavors with other people, we have to recognize that, much like Adam Smith, the division of labor is our friend.
If we think about the way that the free market is supposed to work, if you are really good at farming and I am really good at hunting, we should both do what we individually do best. Then, because we are good at it, we create a surplus, and we trade that surplus with each other until we are happy with the balance of each product we have. That is how this type of arrangement is supposed to work.
Translating that to our type of creative venture then, it seems to me that if I am really good at something and somebody else is really good at another task, it makes an awful lot of sense to take advantage of where I have a comparative advantage and were someone else has a comparative advantage.
If I also recall from economics, there are times where some people might have an absolute advantage. They might just be better at everything. There are some remarkable people in the world who seem to be really good at anything they put their mind to. However, this does not mean that it is beneficial for this one person to do absolutely everything. Instead, there is a point of equilibrium where the less productive member ought to specialize and still do what he or she can do best. Yes, the more productive member may be able to better at everything, but society as a whole will be better off when everyone does what he or she can do best.
So, for someone like me, I may not be very much of an editor. There are people who are much better at that type of thing that I am. There are also people who are better writers than I am. I think I am better at writing than editing, but there are people who will have a better handle on both of them than I do.
I don’t think this means that I should not do my best though. I think I should do what I can do because we benefit as a whole when each of us does our part as best we can.
That’s going to be the focus this week. This idea of specialization is vitally important not only in economics, but I think it applies to pretty much every area of life and has power in pretty much every area of life.