About the Pin Factory, and Mr. Darrell

About the Pin Factory

In his 1776-published foundation for the study of capitalist economics, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith used the example of a factory making pins to illustrate how a division of labor could improve productivity of a factory and each worker in it, to the the greater benefit of the factory owner, the workers in the factory, and the general public who would purchase the pins — made better and cheaper by careful mass production.

It was a great example for illustrative purposes, a teaching example.

My hope is that this blog may serve as a teaching example on many matters of economics, for students who need more than is in the book.  Every student needs more than is in the book.  Students should be asking many questions, for example:  Was Smith right?  Is his pin factory the best way to harness the productivity of workers?

Nota bene:  It has come to my attention there is another blog called The Pin Factory, from a company called Adam Smith Consulting.  There should be little confusion between these two enterprises, but we shall see.  Students may wish to browse there to see how economics is applied in the real world, today, to make money for pointy-heads like their teacher, but those who stuck to business and industry instead of teaching. Economics is not just an academic study of money, it can be a path to great wealth for those who study it well and apply its lessons, as Adam Smith Consulting tends to illustrate.

About Mr. Darrell

Mr. Darrell comes to high school education late, with a wealth of experience in government at the federal, state and local levels, and rather deep experience in working in and consulting for large corporations in legal matters, management and travel.  He spent his childhood and youth in small towns in Idaho and Utah.  Mr. Darrell holds a B.S. in Mass Communication from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and a J.D. with emphasis in environmental protection and land development from the National Law Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Darrell also did graduate work in rhetoric and speech communication at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where he taught Business and Professional Communication and coached with the award-winning debate team.

Ed Darrell at the Presidential Podium (mockup, at George H. W. Bush Library), 2011

Mr. Darrell at the (mock) Presidential Podium

Mr. Darrell’s work experience includes years with the U.S. Senate Staff, where he worked for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and held positions on Judiciary Committee and Labor and Human Resources Committee staff (now Health, Education, Labor and Pensions).  He directed the creation of the first Senate committee press operation, at Labor and Human Resources after 1981.  In the executive branch, Mr. Darrell was public affairs director for the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, chaired by then-Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, and Director of Information Services for the Department of Education at the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), which made him the publisher of education research for the Department.  In private business, Mr. Darrell served as real estate counsel for AMR Corporation, the parent of American Airlines, manager in the Transportation Group in the national consulting practice at Ernst & Young, LLP, and as a due diligence coordinator for PrimeCo PCS, and then Real Estate Manager after PrimeCo was absorbed into the partnership operating as Verizon Wireless.   He also maintained a solo law practice.

In addition to federal government positions, Mr. Darrell served on the Utah Wilderness Commission in the 1970s, and the Beltwoods Management Commission in Maryland, in the 1980s.  He served on the Duncanville, Texas, Sign Board, and Planning and Zoning Commission.  He was active in student government in high school and college, and was a member of the Faculty Senates at the University of Utah and the University of Arizona.  He has been active in PTAs at elementary, middle, and high schools.  He remains an active Scouter, now in the Wisdom Trail District of Circle 10 Council, BSA,  as membership committee chairman.  Mr. Darrell was awarded the Silver Beaver in 2009.    Mr. Darrell and his wife, Kathryn, have two sons, one graduated from  the University of Texas at Dallas now working on a second degree, and one at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  They reside in Dallas with their border setter Buddy, dachsund-plus Peanut, and cat Luna Lovegood.

In Texas, Mr. Darrell has taught business ethics and business law at local universities.  He is certified to teach grades 8-12 in social studies, and has taught economics, U.S. history, world history, street law, and psychology.

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13 thoughts on “About the Pin Factory, and Mr. Darrell

    • It’s public domain. I’d have to look back to see exactly where I got it, but it’s an illustration from an early edition of Smith’s book.

      It would be nice if you’d mention where you found it. Better if you come back here and leave links so we can see how you use the illustration.

      Good luck, and keep us informed.

  1. As I understand the pin factory was a a major step forward!!! It is amazing how humanity has evolved.

  2. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch procejt at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter b

    • I’ve seen that message. I wonder if it’s really based on any research, at Cambridge, or anywhere else. Have you looked? I also think that the letter location does matter, but that human minds love puzzles, and puzzle them out. I wonder if dyslexics puzzle them out the same way.

      Internet legend, or actual research?

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