The Past is a Foreign Country: They do things differently there.L. P. Hartley
Ever wonder why there were no economists before Adam Smith, the great British philosopher and pioneer of political economy? As odd as this may seem, prior to the 18th century no one had ever conceived of organizing a system around the notion of personal gain. Historically, all commercial and industrial activity—that of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the people of the Middle Ages—was organized in just one of two ways.
The first was tradition, where occupations were passed from one generation to the next according to the accident of birth. You were born to your social task and you were expected to accept it. Religion was frequently invoked to justify this approach. If your lot in life was one of poverty and disease, remember: this brutish and brief mortality is simply a prelude to the sweetness of eternal life.Continue reading “No, Deep Down We Are Not All The Same”