The paper identifies two major trends in the economic and social history of the last 150 years, and discusses their effect on the actuarial profession. The major economic trend is globalisation, with which is associated specialisation of function. The major social trend is the gradual collectivisation of society. Neither of these trends has developed monotonically. Both have developed in a ratchet-like movement over time. Globalisation is reflected in the overseas expansion of British life assurance companies…
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