In Book 2 of Plato’s Republic, Adeimantus poses a question worthy of an economics seminar:
Suppose now that a husbandman, or an artisan, brings some production to market, and he comes at a time when there is no one to exchange with him — is he to leave his calling and sit idle in the market-place?
Not at all; he will find people there who, seeing the want, undertake the office of salesmen. In well-ordered States they are commonly those who are the weakest in bodily strength, and therefore of little use for any other purpose; their duty is to be in the market, and to give money in exchange for goods to those who desire to sell and to take money from those who desire to buy.
All right, the “weakest in bodily strength” crack isn’t so nice, but it is nice to see Socrates (and Plato) give credit where credit is due — to the hardworking salespeople and money-handlers who keep our commerce flowing.
(HT: Carlos Eduardo Soares Concalves, via JPE.)