*1768–what’s changed?

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.

h/t Bookninja

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7 thoughts on “*1768–what’s changed?

  1. Now we have Wikipedia. But I still remember our first Encyclopedia Brittanica (and World Book). Whatever happened to the Enlightenment?

    1. Pete, a good question. In the U.S. certainly it’s under attack.

  2. Good old Encyclopedia Britannica. That excerpt about the stock brokers made me sort of laugh and groan. This is what happens if you never say sorry and mean it – no moral development whatsoever….

    1. Litlove, so true. No moral development with respect to the stock exchange. On some other fronts…I would say yes. After all, it is illegal now to beat one’s wife with a rule the thickness of a thumb.

  3. Hi Lilian,

    I just now found a comment you made to my June 9th blog post. I don’t know how I missed approving it. I just wanted to let you know that this wasn’t purposeful (just in case you happened to notice later that your comment never appeared).

    Meanwhile, I’m glad I caught up on my comments because I like your blog!

    Thanks, Lisa at Words at Play

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