Portrait of Voltaire

Voltaire on the Benefits which Trade and Economic Abundance bring to People living in the Present Age (1736)

Found in: Commerce, Culture, and Liberty: Readings on Capitalism Before Adam Smith

Voltaire’s poem celebrating the fact that he was living in an age of developing commerce and markets:


Others may with regret complain That ’tis not fair Astrea’s reign, That the famed golden age is o’er That Saturn, Rhea rule no more: Or, to speak in another style, That Eden’s groves no longer smile. For my part, I thank Nature sage, That she has placed me in this age… I have, I own, a worldly mind, That’s pleased abundance here to find; Abundance, mother of all arts, Which with new wants new joys imparts The treasures of the earth and main, With all the creatures they contain: These, luxury and pleasures raise; This iron age brings happy days.