The following was written by former EsLibertad Chairwoman Milica Pandžić .
In his Letters on the English of 1734, Voltaire gives an interesting description of the London Stock Exchange:
“Go into the London Stock Exchange – a more respectable place than many a court – and you will see representatives from all nations gathered together for the utility of men. Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt. Here the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist and the Anglican accepts a promise from the Quaker. On leaving these peaceful and free assemblies some go to the Synagogue and others for a drink, this one goes to be baptized in a great bath in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, that one has his son’s foreskin cut and has some Hebrew words he doesn’t understand mumbled over the child, others go to heir church and await the inspiration of God with their hats on, and everybody is happy.”
When describing what he saw, Voltaire explains how trade makes people leave their personal preferences or prejudices to exchange goods and services. When most people sell their products or provide professional services, they are not thinking about the thousands of aspects that differentiate them from the customer (religion, social or economic status, political ideology, etc.) but about what they have in common: reaching an agreement that benefits both. (more…)