Tulip Mania

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Tulip Mania

History's first major asset bubble. Tulips were introduced to Europe from the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1500s and became very popular in the Netherlands. As they grew in popularity, prices for tulips rose steadily, then unsustainably, in the 1630s. Prices suddenly collapsed in February 1637. Interestingly, tulip mania resulted in the creation of a formal futures market and marked one of the first times when contracts were traded without exchanging the underlying asset.
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But author George Szpiro has a gift for turning the potentially mind-numbing into a historical journey-from Holland's tulip craze of the 1630s to Paris Bourse of the late 1800s and beyond.
In the free-market form of capitalism, the job of the state is to "enable" capitalism's success by enforcing contracts, as well as by limiting the influence of moral "bads" (such as greed) that can lead to market failures--something that has been occurring at least since the Dutch tulip craze of 1637.
The next piece, Tulipomania refers to what Allen Greenspan dubbed "irrational exuberance" during the housing boom leading to the burst of the bubble and the calamity of the Great Recession of 2008, not unlike the tulip craze that took place in 17th century Holland.
Drawing prismatic connections between Kazakstan and Johnny Apple-seed, the Dutch tulip craze and stock market speculation, cannabinoid receptors and a very stoned Carl Sagan, Pollan says things like "the existential heft of a tomato," and you know what he means.
She has an excellent poem, "Tulpenwoede," about the 17th-century tulip craze that ended in economic disaster, yet she's willing to indulge such madness since beauty can unfold, indeed is sometimes caused by, the "diseased ground" from which it is nurtured.
As far as the cost of flowers go, the carloads I purchase are virtually free when compared to what people spent during the great Dutch tulip craze of 1593-1637.
His description of the financial havoc that occurred during the later phases of the tulip craze are nearly as vivid as the flowers themselves.