From the 1768 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
Stock brokers: “Are those who are employed to buy and sell shares in the joint stock of a company or corporation … as the practice of stock-jobbing has been carried on to such an excess as became not only ruinous to a great number of private families, but even affected or at least might soon affect, the public credit of the nation, the legislature thought fit to put a stop to it, or at least bring it within certain bounds, and under some regulation … “
To celebrate the most recent edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, the publishers are looking for the oldest set in private hands. The first edition of EB was put together from 1768-1771 in Edinburgh by a printer, engraver, and editor. Each weekly section cost six pence or eight pence for nicer paper. (Full story here.)
It was an Enlightenment project at a time when rational thought and science were expected to fix the world. We are still seeking enlightenment, still getting hoodwinked and bamboozled, then calling for better regulation. However, despite our failure to avoid the same old with the stock exchange, we have antibiotics, indoor plumbing and sewage treatment. If we could just bring those to the whole world, we’d have great cause to celebrate. And maybe, also, an Encyclopedia Britannica for every village.