Ask the average American how old the insurance industry is, and he or she may estimate 100, maybe even 200 years. After all, aren’t most modern industries only a few hundred years old, perhaps dating to the coming of the Industrial Age in the 19th century? Then mention ship building, and they’ll say, “Oh, yes, well I guess that’s an old business.” Or what about medicine? Old Hippocrates was around back before Mohammed or Jesus. “Oh, well, but it was different then.”

The truth is that there are really very few new professions or industries. There have been healers and lawyers and engineers and accountants since man first gave up settling disputes by beating his neighbor over the head with a club. I suppose we could attribute the clothing business to Adam when he discovered that he and Eve had nothing to wear, and they’d been invited to that formal dinner at the Knowledge Tree. Well, as the saying goes, “A little bite of knowledge is a dangerous thing!” (Michael Pollan in Botany of Desire suspects that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was marijuana.) There was a Bronze Age, an Iron Age; mechanics have been tinkering for millenniums.  

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