Some of the world’s first public sector workers were donkeys. This fact is not well known, and it takes some explaining. Bear with me a moment.
In 1696, the great mathematician Sir Isaac Newton retired from scientific work and took up a sinecure as warden, and later master, of the Royal Mint.
The word ‘sinecure’ literally means ‘without a care’. The wardenship of the mint was a do-nothing job for a man who had...
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