SPECIALIZED SUPPORT OF THE MOST NECESSARY ROLES
When Socrates returns from articulating reasons for the division of labor and continues building the city in speech, every addition he proposes has an analytical significance. He proceeds by discovering not only new needs but new kinds of needs, and he proposes a variety of specialized productive roles necessary for addressing them. Having specialized four or five productive roles on the supply side of the economy (farming, house building, etc.) in order to address the basic consumer needs of all, Socrates notes that each of these productive roles will itself involve needs for things that it would be inefficient for that producer to make. As Greco observes, by differentiating between the original set of producers and the subsequent set addressing the production needs of the first set, “Plato implicitly anticipates the distinction between those that are nowadays seen as the two major types of production: of consumer products and of products for the industry, respectively” (Greco 2009, 60).
Some of these needs are for tools. A farmer will not make his own plow, hoe, or other tools, if they are going to be of high quality, since he does not have the time to learn all those arts well (370c-d). For the same reason, a house builder will not make the many tools he requires either, and the same is true for a weaver and shoemaker (370d). Carpenters, smiths, and many other craftsmen are therefore needed as partners in the city (370d). The farmer’s and builder’s needs for pulling power will also yield cowherds, since oxen are needed for pulling plows and hauling loads (370d-e). Weavers and shoemakers will also require such raw materials as wool and hides on which to work, and this will lead to the specialization of shepherds and other kinds of herdsmen (370d-e). Socrates also notes that some producers will produce products that address multiple needs simultaneously: the cowherd’s oxen can both haul and supply hides. This could complicate such a producer’s cost- benefit calculations in making plans to exchange. In sum, Socrates identifies a variety of what we may call factors of production, distinguishes them as a class from consumption goods, and shows how the need for them is derived from the need for consumption goods.34