Woody Allen once said, 'There are worse things than death. If you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you will know what I mean.'
But the insurance industry is the bedrock on which our civilisation rests. And it is crumbling. If people are soon likely to spend more years in retirement than at work, what will happen? Who will pay their pensions? Why should the young save for their old age when they cannot place any trust in financial institutions? What future is there for the welfare state?
A large insurance company with sixty million customers in many countries invited Theodore Zeldin to think about this. He has come up with a solution which changes the very character and ambition of insurance. We shall say more about this when the results of the practical implementation of his ideas by this company become available.
This is an example of the Muse's ultimate objective, to reconsider each of the professions, with the help of those of its members who are willing to think about how they can reshape their goals to meet contemporary needs. We recently spoke to the head of one of the world's leading law firms about this. He said lawyers are not generally reflective people. We would like to meet those who are. And those in other professions too.