tulip mania

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pages: 263 words: 84,410

Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dash

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Ponzi scheme, random walk, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, trade route, tulip mania

From the context in which the chronicler mentions the tulip house it seems the passage may not be contemporary. The development of the tulip mania Posthumus, “The Tulip Mania in Holland,” pp. 140–42; Krelage, Bloemenspeculatie in Nederland, pp. 42, 49–52. A contemporary chronicler Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, p. 504. Like many of the prices cited by historians of the mania, van Aitzema’s seem to be drawn from the fictionalized Samenspraecken, three pamphlets published in 1637 that purported to record conversations between a tulip dealer and his friend. See chapter 11 for details. Generael der Generaelen van Gouda Krelage, Bloemenspeculatie in Nederland, pp. 35, 49. Schama says that Gouda was one of the cheapest and least spectacular varieties, which is not correct. Later prices quoted for Semper Augustus Ibid., pp. 32–33, 68; Garber, “Tulip-mania,” p. 537; Segal, Tulips Portrayed, pp. 8–9.

It is perfectly possible that methods of this sort were indeed practiced upon occasion, but surely not so cynically and so regularly as to have a significant effect on bulb prices. In truth there was no need to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories to account for the excesses of the bulb craze. The greed, inexperience, and shortsightedness of the florists themselves were all that was required to turn tulip trading into tulip mania. It was the last week of April before the Court of Holland finally concluded its review of the tulip mania. Eight weeks had passed since the growers had met at Amsterdam to propose their own solution to the crisis, three months since the collapse of the flower trade throughout the province. Yet when the learned judges of the Court returned their findings to the States, they began by admitting that they still did not fully understand what had caused the bulb craze or why things had gotten so badly out of hand.

He was the last known victim of the tulip mania. CHAPTER 15 At the Court of the Tulip King The final liquidation of the Dutch mania at the beginning of 1639 left many Hollanders with a distinct aversion to tulips. The episode did not entirely put off the wealthiest collectors of the rarest bulbs; they had never really been involved in the tavern trade in any case and could thus afford to ignore the ridicule that the pamphleteers heaped on those who had found themselves caught up in the frenzy. These few continued to pay high prices for individual bulbs for another hundred years. But interest in tulips otherwise fell away in the United Provinces, now that there was no possibility of making a quick fortune from the flower. Yet the world had not seen the last of tulip mania. Like bubonic plague, it was a strange and complex disease that could rage for a while and then seem to disappear when—like plague—it was really only lying dormant.

 

pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commodity trading advisor, computer age, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

They were within the paradigms of the Internet demand, so they were purchased as equivalent commodities. The reason so many businesses with no apparent prospects for profitability found takers was that the demand they were fulfilling was speculative, not economic. This dynamic is not new. It has been in play in the markets as far back as the classic tulip bubble in seventeenth-century Holland. WHY TULIP MANIA WASN’T CRAZY Many of the stories related to the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s are apocryphal, drawn for sermons on the bitter fruits of avarice, the fodder for object lessons on prudence and frugality. These stories often tried to bring perspective to the phenomenon by introducing hapless, but arguably more rational, outsiders into the middle of the frenzy. One concerns a sailor returning to Amsterdam from sea, unaware of the tulip boom.

Then, within a few short days in mid-February of the next year, the market simply disappeared. 174 ccc_demon_165-206_ch09.qxd 7/13/07 2:44 PM Page 175 T H E B R AV E N E W W O R L D OF HEDGE FUNDS The explanation for the tulip mania usually centers on the irrationality of the market—the incredible excess in paying unbelievable prices for mere flowers. This misses the point. Botany and horticulture were an avocation for many wealthy Europeans in the seventeenth century. And tulips in Holland were among the most sought-after and valued. The rarest, most highly prized tulips were those with irregular colors, or “flames.” They hardly ever reproduced, and when they did, their offspring often did not share the same flaming characteristics as the mother bulb.3 Paying exorbitant sums for these rare flowers was no more unusual than for the very wealthy today to pay fortunes for a Rembrandt (who, by the way, was painting the rich in Amsterdam in 1637). But even before tulip mania seized Holland—and for decades after the bubble burst—such rare bulbs fetched huge sums.

But even before tulip mania seized Holland—and for decades after the bubble burst—such rare bulbs fetched huge sums. In fact, just one month after the common bulbs that fueled the mania could no longer find a buyer, a quantity of rare bulbs was sold in Haarlem, a center of the tulip mania, for more than 10,000 guilders. Tulip mania came neither from these rare bulbs nor from their collectors. The fervor of the collectors may have been a trigger for the bubble, but it was distinct from the event. Rare bulbs were the exclusive province of the wealthy, and in any case were in such short supply that they could not possibly have supported a broad market upsurge. No, the objects of the mania were ordinary bulbs, which were in abundant supply—at least to meet the usual demand. They were purchased by the pound, sight unseen, and were traded for the simple reason that, unlike the rare bulbs, they were available.

 

pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

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Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

A variety of tulip (the Viceroy) whose bulb was one of the most expensive at the time of the tulip mania in Amsterdam, from The Tulip Book of P. Cos, including weights and prices from the years of speculative tulip mania (1637); Wageningen UR Library, Special Collections. finan cial crashe s : w h a t, w h y, a n d w h e n? 9 as the medium of speculation and their price determined the wealth of participants in the tulip business. It is not clear whether the build-up attracted new investment or new investment fueled the build-up, or both. What is known is that as the build-up continued, more and more people were roped into investing their hard-won earnings. The price of the tulip lost all correlation to its comparative value with other goods or services. What we now call the “tulip mania” of the seventeenth century was the “sure thing” investment during the period from the mid-1500s to 1636.

This signals the possible existence of a subtle but nonetheless influential worldwide cooperativity at times preceding crashes. HISTORICAL CRASHES In the financial world, risk, reward, and catastrophe come in irregular cycles witnessed by every generation. Greed, hubris, and systemic fluctuations have given us the tulip mania, the South Sea bubble, the land booms in the 1920s and 1980s, the U.S. stock market and great crash in 1929, and the October 1987 crash, to name just a few of the hundreds of ready examples [454]. The Tulip Mania The years of tulip speculation fell within a period of great prosperity in the republic of the Netherlands. Between 1585 and 1650, Amsterdam became the chief commercial emporium, the center of the trade of the northwestern part of Europe, owing to the growing commercial activity in newly discovered America.

The rather sophisticated presentations, the apparently serious references that seem to justify their origins, and their distinguished proponents provide food for amplifications serving diverse interests and psychological biases in all layers of society. Notwithstanding the probable confusion it may bring to the mind of readers, it seems appropriate to mention here a recent book by P. M. Garber that reexamined the tulip mania and the Law and South Sea bubbles described in chapter 1 with a fresh and close look at the historical record [153]. His main conclusion is that the fabled elements ritually invoked as underlying speculative bubbles with herding and irrational behavior are just not true. Instead, he defends the view that these events have a possible explanation in terms of fundamental valuation. The interesting part is that Garber views the tulip mania “myth” as originating from a rumor that was progressively strengthened by successive authors using it for their own agenda, such as to support moralistic attacks against “excessive speculation” and, in modern times, to plead for government regulation: “the tulipmania episode is simply a rhetorical device used to put forward an argument that the existence of positi ve feedback s 111 tulipmania proves that markets are crazy.

 

pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

See Britain sunk in lucre’s sordid charms… ‘All this is madness,’ cries a sober sage: But who, my friend, has reason in his rage? The ruling Passion, be it what it will, The ruling Passion conquers Reason still.72 Throughout history there have been periods where asset prices have moved far out of line with economic fundamentals, driven by what Jonathan Swift, in his ballad The Bubble, called ‘the madness of crowds’. These episodes, ranging from the Dutch tulip mania of the seventeenth century to the Mississippi Bubble in eighteenth-century France, were brilliantly chronicled in Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions by the nineteenth-century journalist Charles Mackay, of which more in a moment.73 If this sounds like a narrow academic debate, it is not. For much of the instability that currently afflicts the world economy is a direct reflection of an aberrant turn in the direction taken by academic economics over the past sixty years or so.

But he added that it was impossible to quash a bubble in a democratic society because it would lead to the Fed’s independence being curtailed.76 As for efficient market theorists such as Eugene Fama, they, too, remain unrepentant. How do they justify themselves? Consider this, first, from the perspective of financial history. In an academic paper, the economist Peter Garber has examined three great bubbles in detail: the Dutch tulip mania, in which contract prices for bulbs soared to astronomical heights and then collapsed; the Mississippi Bubble in France, a scheme engineered by the Scottish adventurer John Law which enjoyed a monopoly over French colonial trade and ended in a speculative frenzy fuelled by the issue of paper money; and the South Sea Bubble in England, where speculation hinged on the South Sea Company’s modest trading rights in the West Indies and South America, together with its purchase of the national debt in exchange for an annual payment from the Exchequer.77 On the seventeenth-century tulip euphoria, Garber argues that Charles Mackay failed to discuss what the fundamental price of tulips should have been, pointing out that there is a standard pricing pattern for new varieties of flowers that holds even today.

This is intended to address the efficient market theorists’ argument that a bubble is an impossibility because market participants would detect any valuation anomaly and immediately bet against it, bringing prices back to ‘efficient’ levels. Shiller has also produced detailed statistical work on stock prices and dividends going back to 1871, in which he finds that the volatility of prices relative to underlying corporate performance is far more than can be explained by efficient market theory.82 Charles Mackay is interestingly in tune with these insights of behavioural finance, even if he is prone to exaggerate. Writing of the tulip mania, he said: Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and one after the other, they rushed to the tulip-marts, like flies around a honey pot. Everyone imagined that the passion for tulips would last for ever, and that the wealthy from every part of the world would send to Holland, and pay whatever prices were asked for them. The riches of Europe would be concentrated on the shores of the Zuyder Zee, and poverty banished from the favoured clime of Holland.

 

pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, new economy, Paul Lévy, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, V2 rocket, volatility smile

They took the foreign investment to mean that all of Europe was catching on to their tulip craze, and so they doubled down: ordinary people sold their belongings, mortgaged their houses, and exhausted their savings to participate in the tulip market. Tulips bulbs are typically planted in the fall and then harvested in the late spring. But winter was the prime time for speculation because this was when would-be investors had the least information about the supply for the coming year: the old bulbs had been planted but the new bulbs and cut flowers were not yet available. It was during the winter of 1636–37 that tulip mania (as it is now called) reached its height. That winter, a single bulb sold for as much as 5,200 guilders (more than $60,000 for one tulip bulb!). And then one day in February 1637, at an otherwise ordinary tulip auction in Haarlem, the bidding stopped too soon. Apparently no one had invited the next batch of tulip fools. That day, prized tulips sold for just a fraction of what they had even one day before.

Herding and similar phenomena — the kinds of behavior that lead to bubbles — seem to be an ever-present aspect of human psychology. No one wants to be left out, and so we tend to copy one another. Ordinarily, though, we do not act like lemmings. Even if we look to one another for guidance, we do not usually follow blindly. The question, then, is why under some circumstances herding seems to take over. How does something like tulip mania strike? When do the normal mental brakes that would keep someone from spending his entire life savings on a tulip bulb give out? Sornette doesn’t have an answer to this question, though he has developed some models that predict which circumstances will lead herding effects to become particularly strong. What Sornette can do is identify when herding effects have taken over. This amounts to identifying when a speculative bubble has taken hold in a particular market and to predicting the probability that the bubble will pop before a certain fixed time (the critical point).

.”: The first paper with Bouchaud was Bouchaud and Sornette (1994). “. . . realized that Sornette’s earlier work . . .”: The first paper on this topic was Sornette (1996); it was greatly expanded the following year in Sornette and Johansen (1997). “. . . in 1841, Charles Mackay wrote a book . . .”: This is Mackay (1841). “Perhaps the most striking example . . .”: For more on tulip mania, see Dash (1999) and Goldgar (2007); for another, more skeptical perspective, see Thompson (2007). “That winter, a single bulb . . .”: These numbers are from Dash (1999). “Since first predicting the October 1997 crash . . .”: See the description of his predictions in Sornette (2003); my reports on his more recent successes are from private communication. “. . . he calls them ‘dragon kings’ ”: See Sornette (2009). 8.

 

pages: 464 words: 117,495

The New Trading for a Living: Psychology, Discipline, Trading Tools and Systems, Risk Control, Trade Management by Alexander Elder

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additive manufacturing, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, buy low sell high, Checklist Manifesto, deliberate practice, diversification, Elliott wave, endowment effect, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Ponzi scheme, price stability, psychological pricing, quantitative easing, random walk, risk tolerance, short selling, South Sea Bubble, systematic trading, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, tulip mania

You can only set your position size and decide whether and when to enter or exit your trades. Most traders feel jittery entering a trade. Their judgment becomes clouded after they join the crowd. Caught up in crowd emotions, many traders deviate from their plans and lose money. Experts on Crowds Charles Mackay, a Scottish barrister, wrote his classic book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, in 1841. He described several mass manias, including the Tulip Mania in Holland in 1634 and the South Seas investment bubble in England in 1720. The tulip craze began as a bull market in tulip bulbs. The long bull market convinced the prosperous Dutch that tulips would continue to appreciate. Many abandoned their businesses to grow tulips, trade them, or become tulip brokers. Banks accepted tulips as collateral and speculators profited. Finally, that mania collapsed in waves of panic selling, leaving people destitute and the nation shocked.

A trend can continue as long as bulls and bears remain in conflict. A high degree of consensus precedes reversals. When the crowd becomes highly bullish, get ready to sell, and when it becomes strongly bearish, get ready to buy. This is the contrary opinion theory, whose foundations were laid by Charles Mackay, a Scottish barrister. His classic book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) describes the infamous Dutch Tulip Mania and the South Seas Bubble in England. Humphrey B. Neill in the United States applied the theory of contrary opinion to stocks and other financial markets. In his book, The Art of Contrary Thinking, he made it clear why the majority must be wrong at the market's turning points: prices are established by crowds, and by the time the majority turns bullish, there aren't enough new buyers to support a bull market.

timing of trades and and volume of trading Trend-following indicators Directional system MACD Lines in Triple Screen trading system Trendlines: diagonal subjectivity of TRIN Triple bullish or bearish divergences Triple Screen trading system choosing timeframes in day-trading entry technique screen Force Index in market tide screen market wave screen objective of Stochastic signals in stops and profit targets in trend-following indicators and oscillators True breakouts True Range (TR) Tulip Mania 12-step programs Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (AA) 20-day New High–New Low Index 2% Rule in futures markets as a guideline for pyramiding for institutional traders and Iron Triangle of risk control Two Roads Diverged: Trading Divergences (Alexander Elder) Tyson, Mike U Uncertainty Undecided traders Undercapitalization myth U.S. stock market: price cycles in trends in Unstuff Your Life (Andrew J.

 

pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

In the 1960s and 1970s, as EMT was being developed, Hyman Minsky was writing about booms leading to euphoria, panic, and busts. Charles Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, was hugely popular when it came out in 1978. British journalist and essayist Walter Bagehot had written about financial crises in Lombard Street, London’s financial district, back in the latter half of the nineteenth century. And who hasn’t heard of the extraordinary tulip mania in the Netherlands of the 1630s, popularized in Charles Mackay’s 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds? Of course, we don’t need to look that far back, considering that we’ve all lived through two major manias of our own, the dot-com bubble and the housing boom and bust. It would appear that uncertainty with all its promise and perils is very much a part of our economic system.

., 107–9, 114 Songwriting, 3–9, 66 Sony VCRs, 93 South Korea, 106–7 Space cargo transport business, 147–49 Space stations, 109–10 SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation), 66, 147–49 Sparked, 102 Specialization, 77–78 Spies, recruitment of CIA, 17–20, 27 Spills, engagement framing of, 102 Spitballing, 59 Sports, capitalism and, 120 Spotify, 256 Spring Health, 69–70 Stanford University, 17, 34–35, 72, 180, 251–52 StarCraft II game, 137 Start-ups creative hubs for, 72–73 disruptive innovations of, 28–29 e-commerce platforms and, 162–66 education and, 121 job creation by, 239 in New York, 181–82 social enterprise and, 158 venture capital and, 243–45 Stern, Sam, 194–95 Stewart, Martha, 104 Stigler, George, 228 Stock options, 230 Stone, Biz, 121–22 Storytelling, framing and, 92–97, 110–15 Strategies pivoting, 215–20 playing and, 119, 141–45 Strickler, Yancey, 86–88 Studio Neat, 171 Subprime mortgages, 231 Summer day camp games, 137 Summers, Lawrence, 232 Summit on the Future of Design, 251–52 SuperBetter program, 131–32 Sustainability, 46–48, 157–59 Sutton, Thomas, 129 Systrom, Kevin, 182, 207 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 228 Tanizaki, Jun’ichiro, 185–86 Taxes, Indie Capitalism and, 248 Taylor, Kathleen, 101–2 Teams creativity and, 21–22 playing and, 122–23, 142–44 Tea Party, 90, 151 TechCrunch, 214 Technion, 182 TechShop, 173 TED conferences, 72 Tesla Motors, 148 Tests, creativity, 19–24, 252 Tetra Paks, 117–18, 123, 127–28 Text messages, 99–100 Thiel, Peter, 215, 235 Thinking connecting dots in, 59–60 design, 14–17, 28 divergent, 21 outside-in, 108–9 ThinkJet printer, 190–97 Thomas, Maria, 166 Threadless (company), 86 Tools, 38–39, 155–56 Top Chef TV program, 254–55 Torrance, Ellis Paul, 21 Toys, wooden, 162–66 Trade deficit, 235 Trade policy, 246 Treadle irrigation pumps, 68 Trends, what-if framing and, 106–10, 114–15 Tripod, iPhone, 167–71 Trust creativity and, 26 destruction of, at Hewlett-Packard, 225 playing and, 127, 143 T-shirt makers, 86 Tulip mania, 229 Tumblr, 155, 165–66, 181, 202 TV, reality, 254 Twitter, 104, 121, 202 Typewriters, 155–56 Typography, 43–44 Umpqua Bank, 113–14 Uncertainty. See also Risk creativity and, 7, 27, 30 economics of, 242 efficient market theory and, 228–31 framing and, 110–15 gaming and, 135–38, 141–45 Gilt fashion platform and, 132–33 global environment and, 32–33 Indie Capitalism and, 240 playing and, 35 Union Square Ventures, 181 United States culture of, 31 failure of innovation in, 234–37 military war games in, 120 political parties of, 94 reshoring of manufacturing to, 160–62 Universities.

 

pages: 376 words: 109,092

Paper Promises by Philip Coggan

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Meanwhile banks become unwilling to lend, and indeed demand repayment of their loans, further weakening the supply/demand balance. In the case of American housing, homeowners walked away from their loans or faced foreclosure from the banks, leaving behind a glut of empty houses that weighed on the markets. Charles Kindleberger, a great historian of bubbles, used the Minsky model to examine everything from tulip mania in the seventeenth century to John Law’s system and the Asian crisis of the late 1990s. He showed they followed a template of a ‘displacement’ – some development like a war or technological change – credit expansion, over-trading (the final speculative phase), followed by distress (as some investors try to exit) and revulsion, as all who took part are berated for their stupidity. The sub-prime boom fits the pattern.

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pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

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3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zimmermann PGP

You read the paper every day, and enough stories have appeared to convince you that bitcoin is real, that some entrepreneurs, including the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame, expect to make a lot of money from it. But the details don’t add up. You get it by doing math problems? No? By having your computer do math problems? How can that possibly work? At this stage, phrases like Ponzi scheme and tulip mania enter your mind. Stage Three: Curiosity. You’ve kept reading. It becomes clear that many people, even some seemingly sensible people such as Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, people with a track record for being right about this stuff, are genuinely excited by it. But why all the fuss? Okay, it’s digital money, it may work, but what difference is that going to make to regular people? And why are people so heated up about it?

A positive feedback loop is how Silicon Valley would describe it, with the higher prices begetting more interest in cryptocurrencies, more investment capital flowing into bitcoin, more innovation and more interest and benefits for the sector, which should push the price even higher. Skeptics could equally call it a bubble—and many sought to do so once the price retreated below $500 in the first half of 2014, using it to justify their depictions of “tulip mania” around bitcoin. But even at those newly lower levels, bitcoin was still higher than any level it had held in its entire history before mid-November 2013. That’s left many miners, bitcoin entrepreneurs, and businesses that have earned the cryptocurrency for a year or more markedly wealthier. The choices they make in investing that wealth have encouraged still more innovation in the sector and have driven prices for bitcoin-related digital properties higher, much as the NASDAQ stock boom fueled the mania for IT start-ups and stocks in the late 1990s.

 

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets - Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor by John Kay

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, California gold rush, complexity theory, computer age, constrained optimization, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equity premium, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, George Gilder, greed is good, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pets.com, popular electronics, price discrimination, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve, yield management

In Greek and Roman times and in the Middle Ages, business was conducted by individuals, or partnerships of people who knew each other well-who else would take on the risks? When larger partnerships were formed, speculation and fraud followed, and after the South Sea bubble large-scale commercial organization was prohibited. The objective was to restrict investment to ventures the participants might expect to understand. But throughout history, from the tulip mania of 1636 to the dot-com bubble of 1999, greed and gullibility have defeated that purpose. The precursors of the modern corporation were international trading companies, such as the English East India Company or the Dutch VOC. These companies acted as both businesses and governments in the areas they colonized and controlled territories larger than the native countries from which they came. The development of canals from 1790, and railroads from 1820, required the creation of domestic enterprises operating on a large scale, in Europe and the United States.

Optimism and risk sharing enable many more new businesses to be started and contribute to the pluralism of a market economy. Information asymmetries extend more widely. Those who invest with Antonio will not be a random sample of the population. Investors will be those who know Antonio or believe they do. Investors, like those telecom shareholders, will be those who are more than averagely optimistic about the prospects for Antonio's trade. In all investment booms-from the tulip mania to the dot-com mania-money is raised cheaply from people who expect high returns but do not in the end receive them. Investment banks have become skilled in managing the issue process so as best to appeal to "irrationalities" in the minds of potential investors-the attraction of "prospects," their aversion to even small losses. In chapter 14, I described how the stock market had developed, not as a primary means of raising capital for new businesses, but as a market for the sale and resale of secondary participations.

 

pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova

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attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

In practice, though, it never seems to be quite the moment for it. After all, things are going so well. The convincer is precisely that: wholly convincing. Why quit while you’re ahead, if you are certain you’ll remain ahead in the future? The ebullient optimism that doesn’t see its own demise isn’t a function of modern markets, either; it’s far older and more pervasive than that. One of the most famous bubbles in history was the great Dutch tulip mania—tulpenwoede—of the early seventeenth century. So desired were the flowers, and so high their price, that in the 1630s a sailor was jailed for mistaking one for an onion and eating it. While the story is likely apocryphal, the sentiment is not. At the bubble’s peak in 1637, some bulbs had increased in price twentyfold in a three-month period. Semper Augustus, considered particularly desirable, cost about a thousand guilders in the 1620s.

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Trend Commandments: Trading for Exceptional Returns by Michael W. Covel

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Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, family office, full employment, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market microstructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Sharpe ratio, systematic trading, the scientific method, transaction costs, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, Y2K

“The human brain responds to high-stakes trading just as it does to the lure of sex. And the riskier trades get, the more the brain craves them.” “Social conformity drives human beings. Even if the group is wrong, people go along.” Sounds about right, right? Consider the question: Does raw human emotion dictate financial decisions, or are we rational calculators of our self-interest? At the peak of tulip mania in Holland, in February 1637, single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.2 The idea that we behave irrationally when it comes to money may not seem radical, but it challenges the dominant University of Chicago economic philosophy that has framed business and government for fifty years. Their campus has given rise to more Nobel Prize winners in economics than any other institution.

 

pages: 196 words: 57,974

Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Whereas the English East India Company initially treated each voyage as a separate venture, with different shareholders, the VOC made all the voyages part of a twenty-one-year venture (something the English imitated a decade later). The VOC’s charter also explicitly told investors that they had limited liability. Dutch investors were the first to trade their shares at a regular stock exchange, founded in 1611, just around the corner from the VOC’s office. All the Amsterdam hub needed to prove its capitalistic credentials was a market crash, which duly arrived with tulip mania in 1636–1637. If the Dutch set the fashion for stock-market speculation at home, they also set the tone for competitive imperialism abroad. The VOC’s first voyage had the simple instructions: “Attack the Spanish and Portuguese wherever you find them.” Within forty years, the VOC had established itself as the dominant force in the Moluccan Spice Islands, driving the Portuguese away and forcing the English to concentrate on India.

 

pages: 166 words: 49,639

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Grace Hopper, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, James Dyson, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, mittelstand, Network effects, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, patent troll, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman, tulip mania

But there are lessons to be had from the booms and busts of previous eras. In particular, you should consider your options before jumping onto bandwagon businesses. To that end I can recommend Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor (Macmillan, 2000), for its fine introduction to the subject of wild booms and busts through the ages. The author is an ex-Lazard merchant banker who understands his material. His book covers a grand sweep from the Dutch tulip-mania of the 1630s to the Japanese bubble economy of the 1980s. It shows that when it comes to making investments, we are doomed to endlessly repeat our mistakes. Every era brings forth innovations, which offer great reward and attract risk capital. The substantial initial profits encourage a rush of capital and company valuations get out of control. Things then inevitably come down to earth, with drastic suffering the result.

 

pages: 180 words: 61,340

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis

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Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, fiat currency, full employment, German hyperinflation, Irish property bubble, Kenneth Rogoff, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, South Sea Bubble, tulip mania, women in the workforce

Digging into the data, he found in Iceland the outlines of what was so clearly a historic act of financial madness that it belonged in a textbook. “The Perfect Bubble,” Aliber calls Iceland’s financial rise, and he has the textbook in the works: an updated version of Charles Kindleberger’s 1978 classic, Manias, Panics, and Crashes. Aliber is editing the new edition. In it, Iceland, he decided back in 2006, would now have its own little box, along with the South Sea Bubble and tulip mania—even though Iceland had yet to crash. For him the actual crash was a mere formality. Word spread in Icelandic economic circles that this distinguished professor at Chicago had taken a special interest in Iceland. In May 2008, Aliber was invited by the University of Iceland’s economics department to give a speech. To an audience of students, bankers, and journalists, he explained that Iceland, far from having an innate talent for high finance, had all the markings of a giant bubble, but he spoke the technical language of academic economists.

 

pages: 322 words: 77,341

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, greed is good, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Martin Wolf, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Great Moderation, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, value at risk

Stocks and bonds are the two biggest single fields of global investment, reaching into every corner of economic life. At the beginning of the new millennium, however, both of them were going through an odd patch. The stock market had undergone a spectacular bubble in Internet and new-economy stocks. Some of what was happening seemed to belong to a classic hysteria equal to that of the great historical bubbles such as the Dutch tulip mania, the South Sea bubble, or the nineteenth-century bubble in railway stocks. The broad rules of these bubbles and implosions are well known. They were first systematized by the economist Hyman Minsky, and their best-known popular formulation is in the classic text by Charles P. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises. The basic pattern of these manias is that a real phenomenon comes along (overseas exploration, railways, the Internet), is latched onto by investors, is blown out of all proportion, and continues surging upward anyway, so more investors pile in on the basis of what’s now called “greater fool theory.”

 

pages: 218 words: 63,471

How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler

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Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

These profits would then be “reported” to investors, which would drive the stock higher. Circular and dangerously wrong reasoning. Enron would pull this scam almost 300 years later. England was ripe for manipulation. At the exact same time, thanks to a Brit named John Law, the French were in the midst of their own speculative bubble: The Mississippi Company was worth more than all of the gold and silver in France. The Dutch tulip mania of the 1630’s didn’t quite kill off speculation there. Between the fall of 1719 and the summer of 1720, close to two hundred joint stock companies, many of them purely speculative, went public. As an inducement to Parliament, Blunt offered a fee of 7.5 million pounds back to the Treasury for the rights to do the exchange. In early 1720, Parliament agreed to Blunt’s swap proposal. It didn’t hurt that he paid off the secretary of the treasury and the Duchess of Kendal, with whom King George I was doing his own speculating.

 

pages: 206 words: 70,924

The Rise of the Quants: Marschak, Sharpe, Black, Scholes and Merton by Colin Read

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Albert Einstein, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of penicillin, discrete time, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market clearing, martingale, means of production, moral hazard, naked short selling, price stability, principal–agent problem, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, stochastic process, The Chicago School, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Works Progress Administration, yield curve

Call options used by tulip buyers ensured a good price on delivery, and puts could be used to provide sellers with a predictable price for their product upon harvest. While these mechanisms acted at first as a way to ensure predictability for buyers and sellers of tulips, it soon became obvious to speculators that profits could be had. As speculators wrote puts and calls, it would not be long before gyrations in tulip mania caused mismatches in options and delivered prices and quantities that those speculators on the losing end could not cover. Such breakdowns in market-making also created breakdowns in trust in options and in financial markets in general. By the 1600s and 1700s, large global trading companies, such as the South Seas Trading Company, were contributing to an options frenzy on their securities. To curry favor from politicians in exchange for helpful legislation, company representatives offered the politicians warrants or the right to buy company-issued stock at a later date but at a predetermined price.

 

pages: 249 words: 66,383

House of Debt: How They (And You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It From Happening Again by Atif Mian, Amir Sufi

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, debt deflation, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, financial innovation, full employment, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, mortgage debt, paradox of thrift, quantitative easing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school choice, shareholder value, the payments system, the scientific method, tulip mania, young professional

His colleague and Nobel laureate Robert Solow compared Kindleberger to Darwin on the Beagle: “collecting, examining, and classifying interesting specimens . . . it was Kindleberger’s style as an economic historian to hunt for interesting things to learn, not pursue a systematic agenda.”2 The culmination of Kindleberger’s massive data collection on bubbles—Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises—is one of the most influential books written in economic history. The book is a tour de force: it covers bubbles going back to the tulip mania in the seventeenth-century Netherlands to the commercial real estate boom before Japan’s “Lost Decade,” to the 1998 financial crisis spurred by the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management. It represents one of the most systematic and large-scale explorations of bubbles and financial crises ever written. The Science of Bubbles Even though Kindleberger didn’t set out to prove any one theory, his close examination of the historical data led him to strong conclusions.

 

pages: 725 words: 221,514

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

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Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

True, Locke’s materialism also came to be broadly accepted—even to be the watchword of the age.83 Mainly, though, the reliance on gold and silver seemed to provide the only check on the dangers involved with the new forms of credit-money, which multiplied very quickly—especially once ordinary banks were allowed to create money too. It soon became apparent that financial speculation, unmoored from any legal or community constraints, was capable of producing results that seemed to verge on insanity. The Dutch Republic, which pioneered the development of stock markets, had already experienced this in the tulip mania of 1637—the first of a series of speculative “bubbles,” as they came to be known, in which future prices would first be bid through the ceiling by investors and then collapse. A whole series of such bubbles hit the London markets in the 1690s, in almost every case built around a new joint-stock corporation formed, in imitation of the East India Company, around some prospective colonial venture.

On the other hand, it does seem that the moment a significant portion of the population begins to actually believe this, and particularly, starts treating credit institutions as if they really will be around forever, everything goes haywire. Note here how it was the most sober, cautious, responsible capitalist regimes—the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, the eighteenth-century British Commonwealth—the ones most careful about managing their public debt—that saw the most bizarre explosions of speculative frenzy, the tulip manias and South Sea bubbles. Much of this seems to turn on the nature of national deficits and credit money. The national debt is, as politicians have complained practically since these things first appeared, money borrowed from future generations. Still, the effects have always been strangely double-edged. On the one hand, deficit financing is a way of putting even more military power in the hands of princes, generals, and politicians; on the other, it suggests that government owes something to those it governs.

 

pages: 823 words: 220,581

Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, open economy, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave

But Bentham’s more important sleight of mind was to ignore the macroeconomic argument that the legislative ceiling to the rate of interest improved the overall quality of investment by favoring ‘sober people’ over ‘prodigals and projectors.’ The historical record favored Smith. The seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are awash with examples of projectors promoting fantastic schemes to a gullible public. The most famous have entered the folklore of society: the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble, the Mississippi Land Scheme (Mackay 1841). What has not sunk in so deeply is that the financial panics that occurred when these bubbles burst frequently ruined whole countries.6 However, the tide of social change and the development of economic theory favored Bentham. The statutes setting maximum rates were eventually repealed, the concept of usury itself came to be regarded as one of those quaint preoccupations of a more religious age, and modern economics extended Bentham’s concept that ‘putting money out at interest, is exchanging present money for future’ (Bentham 1787).

straight lines, in economic analysis subprime bubble substitution effects Summers, Larry supply and demand; analysis of; backward-bending, in labor market; independence of; laws of; of labor; setting of price supply curves; non-existence of; of labor; theory of surplus, production of surplus value, origins of Swan, Trevor Sweezy, Paul, The Theory of Capitalist Development Systems Engineering Approach Taleb, Nassim tatonnement (groping) Taylor Rule Taylor, John Thatcher, Margaret thermodynamics third agent Thornton, Henry time: concept of; economists’ treatment of; factor omitted; importance of time constants time discount; rate of time value: of goods; of money total differential of profit trade unions; economists’ view of; laws against; non-unionization of economists transformation problem transitivity Tsallis-statistics Tulip Mania Turing, Alan turnover: of money; periods of uncertainty; Keynes and Undercover Economist, The unemployment; definitions of; relation to wage increases see also inflation, relation to unemployment unexplored conditions unions see trade unions United States of America (USA); debt deflation in; economic boom in; economic future of; economy of (insolvency of); idle industrial capacity in; industrialization in; leveraging in; money supply in; power of finance sector in; shadow banking in; unemployment definition in use-value; in Marx usury util utilitarianism utility; cardinal; concept of; expected; immeasurable; marginal (diminishing); maximization of; ordinal; perceived; ratio of; social; subjective value; relation to price; source of; theory of; transition to price see also labor theory of value value at risk formulas Varian, Hal; Microeconomic Analysis Veblen, Thorstein velocity of money Vensim program Vissim program Volcker, Paul wages; determination of (theory of); minimum wages; relation to unemployment Wagner, Adolph Wallace, Neil Walras, L.; Elements of Pure Economics; view of equilibrium Walras’s Law; fallacy of weather, modeling of Weintraub, Sidney welfare state well-being, social Wellstone, Paul Wheelwright, Ted Williams, John Woodford, M.

 

pages: 695 words: 194,693

Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave

Although this book is not a cultural history of finance—in many instances, artists, writers, moral philosophers, dramatists, and even comedians have interpreted financial markets, and this in turn has influenced the course of these markets’ development. The criticism of finance as a tool of exploitation on moral grounds goes back to Babylonian times. The discomfort that society has felt with the complexity and abstraction of financial tools has stimulated rich artistic interpretations that in turn shaped cultural attitudes. We sometimes turn to art for a perspective, and artists’ views on finance—from seventeenth-century tulip mania prints to the twentieth-century murals about commerce in New York’s Rockefeller Center—depict finance in the context of familiar cultural symbols. The artist’s vision is an integral part of the narrative of this book. Much of my research in finance has been directed toward a scholarly audience; however, one motivation for writing this book is the hope that a broader audience will be curious about the origins of a toolkit that we all share and a mindset that seems at times difficult and perhaps unnatural.

Despite these isolated details, however, the crowd itself is a unified force in the picture—the obvious implication being that the financial crisis derived from the madness of the mob, the tendency of people to get swept up and lose their reason. Several of the prints in the book hearken back to earlier Dutch art. For example, borrowing freely from Peter Brueghel and Hieronymus Bosch, The Great Mirror of Folly artists portrayed loony investors having the stone of folly extracted from their feverish brains, or as fools doomed to perpetually drift in lunatic reverie. One print of the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s is simply reproduced in the volume to draw the direct analogy between the episode of bulb speculation and the great financial crash. The bulb print is a figure of a giant, empty cap—suggesting the loss of the head and mind to speculative passions. FIGURE 24. Engraving from The Great Mirror of Folly, 1720, depicting the global market bubble on its path from the coffeehouse, pulled by the six great companies.

 

pages: 372 words: 107,587

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, working poor

If you’re this kind of investor, you are more likely to hold shares relatively briefly, and you are likely to gravitate toward stocks that see rapid swings in value. You are also likely to be constantly on the lookout for information — even rumors — that could tip you off to impending price swings in particular stocks. When lots of people engage in speculative investment, the likely result is a series of occasional manias or bubbles. A classic example is the 17th-century Dutch tulip mania, when trade in tulip bulbs assumed bubble proportions; at its peak in early February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.17 Just days after the peak, tulip bulb contract prices collapsed and speculative tulip trading virtually ceased. More recently, in the 1920s, radio stocks were the bubble du jour while the dot-com or Internet bubble ran its course a little over a decade ago (1995–2000).

 

pages: 523 words: 111,615

The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters by Diane Coyle

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hyman Minsky, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, megacity, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, oil shock, principal–agent problem, profit motive, purchasing power parity, railway mania, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, The Design of Experiments, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, transaction costs, transfer pricing, tulip mania, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, web application, web of trust, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey

Even if you think capitalism is working pretty well despite the crisis—and after all, there have been many crises in financial markets over the centuries—it has to be acknowledged that there is at least a crisis of legitimacy. Majorities of people in many countries do not believe, at present, that markets are doing a good job of organizing the economy. The immediate crisis is probably the least interesting way in which markets are failing at the moment, however. Financial crises do indeed recur in market economies, at least as far back as the tulip mania of the seventeenth century.17 The economist Hyman Minsky has argued that there is an internal cycle of capitalism that guarantees there will be banking crises from time to time.18 There have been a few in recent decades—in 1993–94, 1997–98, in 2001, as well as 2007–8. Each one is different, and the most recent crisis has been distinctive in involving the world’s very biggest banks. So each carries new lessons, the lesson from the most recent being that regulators have allowed banks to grow too big.

 

pages: 356 words: 103,944

The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy by Dani Rodrik

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, George Akerlof, guest worker program, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, night-watchman state, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, open economy, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, savings glut, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey

The subprime mortgage crisis has also generated a large literature, and in view of its magnitude and momentous implications, surely much more will be written. But some of the key conclusions are not hard to foresee: markets are prone to bubbles, unregulated leverage creates systemic risk, lack of transparency undermines confidence, and early intervention is crucial when financial markets are going belly-up. Didn’t we know all this from as long ago as the famous tulip mania of the seventeenth century? These crises transpired not because they were unpredictable but because they were unpredicted. Economists (and those who listen to them) had become overconfident in their preferred narrative of the moment: markets are efficient, financial innovation transfers risk to those best able to bear it, self-regulation works best, and government intervention is ineffective and harmful.

 

pages: 284 words: 92,688

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

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Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, Y Combinator, éminence grise

You spend your days talking to people who don’t seem any smarter than you—some don’t seem very bright at all—and yet they are gazillionaires, while you’re an underpaid hack who can barely pay his bills. I wasn’t sure whether to resent them or envy them. In the end I felt a bit of both. Of course the dotcom bubble finally blew up, and I felt a little bit vindicated and even a bit relieved. Now everything could go back to normal. I figured the dotcom bubble had been a historical anomaly akin to the Dutch tulip mania of the seventeenth century, something we would never see again in our lifetime. Instead another one is taking shape. People my age, who remember the first dotcom bubble, are walking around San Francisco feeling like the character played by Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. We’ve lived through this before. We reckon it will all end in tears, just like the first one did. The young kids running these new companies, however, have almost no memory of the first crash.

 

pages: 471 words: 97,152

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

., 186n13 Thought experiments, 2, 3, 5, 117 Times of London, 71 Tinbergen, Jan, 16, 179n8 Tirole, Jean, 196n14 Tobacman, Jeremy, 192n13,25 Tobias, Ronald, 52, 53, 184n7 Tobin, James, 46, 145, 178n4, 183n11, 189n1, 194n34 Tobin’s q, 145, 195n36,37 Toyota Motor Company, 137–40 Traité de l’Homme (Descartes), 178n3 Trajectory of metal ball experiment, 151 Treasury bills, 79, 91–92 Treasury Department, U.S., 46, 91 Treyer, Valerie, 181n9 Trondheim, Norway, 11, 13 Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), 91, 92, 94 Trust Indenture Act of 1939, 39 Tuccillo, John, 149–50, 195n3 Tulip mania, 13 Turner, Frederic Jackson, 62, 184n9 Tversky, Amos, 190n13, 191n4 Two-target approach, 18, 95–96 Uccello, Cori E., 192n14 Uchitelle, Louis, 189n15 Ueda, Kazuo, 183n14 uncertainty, 144, 194n32 unemployment, xxi–xxiii, 6, 97–106, 174, 188–89n1–17; classical economics on, 2–3; current rate of, 3; in the depression of the 1890s, 60; efficiency wage theory on (see efficiency wage theory); in the Great Depression, xxi–xxii, 2, 3, 67; inflation and (see inflation-unemployment tradeoff); involuntary, xxiii, xxv, 97–100; in minorities, 157, 158, 163; natural rate of (see natural rate theory); in New Classical Economics, xxv; quits and, 103–4, 106; recent rise in, 4; voluntary, 2 unions.

 

pages: 424 words: 140,262

Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World by Christian Wolmar

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banking crisis, Beeching cuts, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, railway mania, refrigerator car, side project, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, urban sprawl

Most losses occurred when promoters, either fraudulent, stupid or simply over-optimistic, obtained huge sums of money for lines that were never completed so that investors lost all their cash. Investors were most vulnerable during the railway manias which raged through different countries at various times and were swept up in the rush simply because everyone else seemed to think it was a good idea. Railway bubbles simply fit into the history of similar scandals from the Dutch tulip mania of 1637 to the recent banking crisis. There’s no shortage of elegantly embellished but completely valueless railway company share certificates still adorning living-room walls, dating from the various railway manias of the nineteenth century. However, it was when governments became involved that unbelievably huge sums could be purloined by corrupt promoters and the world centre for such activity was the United States, where several later scams dwarfed even the dodgy dealings outlined in Chapter 6 during the construction of the first transcontinental.

 

pages: 460 words: 122,556

The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Carmen Reinhart, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, fixed income, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, race to the bottom, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Y2K

It could be that changes in either supply or demand warrant a much higher price. A bubbly market is one that has lost its connection to supply and demand. In such cases—as in the late ’90s, when fundamentally worthless Internet stocks claimed valuations of tens of billions of dollars; or in the 1630s in Holland when, at the peak of a mania, twelve acres of land were offered for a single bulb of Semper Augustus tulip—prices are floated on sheer froth.10 During the tulip mania, Dutch traders met at taverns and contracted for the future delivery of bulbs of a flower regarded as a luxury and a status symbol. Precipitously, the bubble collapsed, and tulips once more were merely tulips. The question posed about bubbly markets has been the same ever since: What is the real price, or the price justified by supply and demand? In 2005, to get a fix on the housing market, Fannie Mae’s managers overlaid a graph of prices with that of incomes over the previous generation.

 

pages: 452 words: 150,785

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

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banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business climate, cuban missile crisis, Ford paid five dollars a day, invention of the wheel, large denomination, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, Plutocrats, plutocrats, short selling, special drawing rights, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, very high income

More than that, the attitude of educators toward printed textbooks and of business people toward written communication underwent a discernible change; avant-garde philosophers took to hailing xerography as a revolution comparable in importance to the invention of the wheel; and coin-operated copying machines began turning up in candy stores and beauty parlors. The mania—not as immediately disrupting as the tulip mania in seventeenth-century Holland but probably destined to be considerably farther-reaching—was in full swing. The company responsible for the great breakthrough and the one on whose machines the majority of these billions of copies were made was, of course, the Xerox Corporation, of Rochester, New York. As a result, it became the most spectacular big-business success of the nineteen-sixties. In 1959, the year the company—then called Haloid Xerox, Inc.

 

pages: 415 words: 125,089

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

If AT&T stock rose above the strike price before October 15 by an amount greater than the option premium, the option would generate a profit. In fact, the potential profit on the option would be limitless. The option on AT&T stock was selling for $2.50 on June 6, 1995. Why $2.50? Resolving Paccioli's unfinished game of balla was kid stuff compared to this! We can only wonder whether two quants like Pascal and Fermat could have come up with an answer-and why they did not even try. The Dutch tulip mania, a striking example of what happens when "oldfashioned human hunches" take over, had occurred only twenty years before Pascal and Fermat first laid out the principles of probability theory; the memory of it must still have been vivid when they began their historic deliberations. Perhaps they ignored the challenge of valuing an option because the key to the puzzle is in the price of uncertainty, a concept that seems more appropriate to our own times than it may have seemed to theirs.

 

pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

.: Hyperion 220 Loomis, Carol 108 lotteries 65, 66, 68, 72 Lucas, Robert 40 Lynch, Dennios 108 Lynch, Peter 108, 109 M M-Pesa 186 Maastricht Treaty (1993) 243, 250 McCardie, Sir Henry 83, 84, 282, 284 McGowan, Harry 45 Machiavelli, Niccolò 224 McKinley, William 44 McKinsey 115, 126 Macy’s department store 46 Madoff, Bernard 29, 118, 131, 132, 177, 232, 293 Madoff Securities 177 Magnus, King of Sweden 196 Manhattan Island, New York: and Native American sellers 59, 63 Manne, Henry 46 manufacturing companies, rise of 45 Marconi 48 marine insurance 62, 63 mark-to-market accounting 126, 128–9, 320n22 mark-to-model approach 128–9, 320n21 Market Abuse Directive (MAD) 226 market economy 4, 281, 302, 308 ‘market for corporate control, the’ 46 market risk 97, 98, 177, 192 market-makers 25, 28, 30, 31 market-making 49, 109, 118, 136 Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID) 226 Markkula, Mike 162, 166, 167 Markopolos, Harry 232 Markowitz, Harry 69 Markowitz model of portfolio allocation 68–9 Martin, Felix 323n5 martingale 130, 131, 136, 139, 190 Marx, Groucho 252 Marx, Karl 144, 145 Capital 143 Mary Poppins (film) 11, 12 MasterCard 186 Masters, Brooke 120 maturity transformation 88, 92 Maxwell, Robert 197, 201 Mayan civilisation 277 Meade, James 263 Means, Gardiner 51 Meeker, Mary 40, 167 Melamed, Leo 19 Mercedes 170 merchant banks 25, 30, 33 Meriwether, John 110, 134 Merkel, Angela 231 Merrill Lynch 135, 199, 293, 300 Merton, Robert 110 Metronet 159 Meyer, André 205 MGM 33 Microsoft 29, 167 middleman, role of the 80–87 agency and trading 82–3 analysts 86 bad intermediaries 81–2 from agency to trading 84–5 identifying goods and services required 80, 81 logistics 80, 81 services from financial intermediaries 80–81 supply chain 80, 81 transparency 84 ‘wisdom of crowds’ 86–7 Midland Bank 24 Milken, Michael 46, 292 ‘millennium bug’ 40 Miller, Bill 108, 109 Minuit, Peter 59, 63 Mises, Ludwig von 225 Mittelstand (medium-size business sector) 52, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172 mobile banking apps 181 mobile phone payment transfers 186–7 Modigliani-Miller theorem 318n9 monetarism 241 monetary economics 5 monetary policy 241, 243, 245, 246 money creation 88 money market fund 120–21 Moneyball phenomenon 165 monopolies 45 Monte Carlo casino 123 Monte dei Paschi Bank of Siena 24 Montgomery Securities 167 Moody’s rating agency 21, 248, 249, 313n6 moral hazard 74, 75, 76, 92, 95, 256, 258 Morgan, J.P. 44, 166, 291 Morgan Stanley 25, 40, 130, 135, 167, 268 Morgenthau, District Attorney Robert 232–3 mortality tables 256 mortgage banks 27 mortgage market fluctuation in mortgage costs 148 mechanised assessment 84–5 mortgage-backed securities 20, 21, 40, 85, 90, 100, 128, 130, 150, 151, 152, 168, 176–7, 284 synthetic 152 Mozilo, Angelo 150, 152, 154, 293 MSCI World Bank Index 135 muckraking 44, 54–5, 79 ‘mugus’ 118, 260 multinational companies, and diversification 96–7 Munger, Charlie 127 Munich, Germany 62 Munich Re 62 Musk, Elon 168 mutual funds 27, 108, 202, 206 mutual societies 30 mutualisation 79 mutuality 124, 213 ‘My Way’ (song) 72 N Napoleon Bonaparte 26 Napster 185 NASA 276 NASDAQ 29, 108, 161 National Economic Council (US) 5, 58 National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) 255 National Institutes of Health 167 National Insurance Fund (UK) 254 National Provincial Bank 24 National Science Foundation 167 National Westminster Bank 24, 34 Nationwide 151 Native Americans 59, 63 Nazis 219, 221 neo-liberal economic policies 39, 301 Netjets 107 Netscape 40 Neue Markt 170 New Deal 225 ‘new economy’ bubble (1999) 23, 34, 40, 42, 98, 132, 167, 199, 232, 280 new issue market 112–13 New Orleans, Louisiana: Hurricane Katrina disaster (2005) 79 New Testament 76 New York Stock Exchange 26–7, 28, 29, 31, 49, 292 New York Times 283 News of the World 292, 295 Newton, Isaac 35, 132, 313n18 Niederhoffer, Victor 109 NINJAs (no income, no job, no assets) 222 Nixon, Richard 36 ‘no arbitrage’ condition 69 non-price competition 112, 219 Norman, Montagu 253 Northern Rock 89, 90–91, 92, 150, 152 Norwegian sovereign wealth fund 161, 253 Nostradamus 274 O Obama, Barack 5, 58, 77, 194, 271, 301 ‘Obamacare’ 77 Occidental Petroleum 63 Occupy movement 52, 54, 312n2 ‘Occupy Wall Street’ slogan 305 off-balance-sheet financing 153, 158, 160, 210, 250 Office of Thrift Supervision 152–3 oil shock (1973–4) 14, 36–7, 89 Old Testament 75–6 oligarchy 269, 302–3, 305 oligopoly 118, 188 Olney, Richard 233, 237, 270 open market operations 244 options 19, 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 263 Osborne, George 328n19 ‘out of the money option’ 102, 103 Overend, Gurney & Co. 31 overseas assets and liabilities 179–80, 179 owner-managed businesses 30 ox parable xi-xii Oxford University 12 P Pacific Gas and Electric 246 Pan Am 238 Paris financial centre 26 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards 295 partnerships 30, 49, 50, 234 limited liability 313n14 Partnoy, Frank 268 passive funds 99, 212 passive management 207, 209, 212 Patek Philippe 195, 196 Paulson, Hank 300 Paulson, John 64, 109, 115, 152, 191, 284 ‘payment in kind’ securities 131 payment protection policies 198 payments system 6, 7, 25, 180, 181–8, 247, 259–60, 281, 297, 306 PayPal 167, 168, 187 Pecora, Ferdinand 25 Pecora hearings (1932–34) 218 peer-to-peer lending 81 pension funds 29, 98, 175, 177, 197, 199, 200, 201, 208, 213, 254, 282, 284 pension provision 78, 253–6 pension rights 53, 178 Perkins, Charles 233 perpetual inventory method 321n4 Perrow, Charles 278, 279 personal financial management 6, 7 personal liability 296 ‘petrodollars’ 14, 37 Pfizer 96 Pierpoint Morgan, J. 165 Piper Alpha oil rig disaster (1987) 63 Ponzi, Charles 131, 132 Ponzi schemes 131, 132, 136, 201 pooled investment funds 197 portfolio insurance 38 Potts, Robin, QC 61, 63, 72, 119, 193 PPI, mis-selling of 296 Prebble, Lucy: ENRON 126 price competition 112, 219 price discovery 226 price mechanism 92 Prince, Chuck 34 private equity 27, 98, 166, 210 managers 210, 289 private insurance 76, 77 private sector 78 privatisation 39, 78, 157, 158, 258, 307 probabilistic thinking 67, 71, 79 Procter & Gamble 69, 108 product innovation 13 property and infrastructure 154–60 protectionism 13 Prudential 200 public companies, conversion to 18, 31–2, 49 public debt 252 public sector 78 Q Quandt, Herbert 170 Quandt Foundation 170 quantitative easing 245, 251 quantitative style 110–11 quants 22, 107, 110 Quattrone, Frank 167, 292–3 queuing 92 Quinn, Sean 156 R railroad regulation 237 railway mania (1840s) 35 Raines, Franklin 152 Rajan, Raghuram 56, 58, 79, 102 Rakoff, Judge Jed 233, 294, 295 Ramsey, Frank 67, 68 Rand, Ayn 79, 240 ‘random walk’ 69 Ranieri, Lew 20, 22, 106–7, 134, 152 rating agencies 21, 41, 84–5, 97, 151, 152, 153, 159, 249–50 rationality 66–7, 68 RBS see Royal Bank of Scotland re-insurance 62–3 Reagan, Ronald 18, 23, 54, 59, 240 real economy 7, 18, 57, 143, 172, 190, 213, 226, 239, 271, 280, 288, 292, 298 redundancy 73, 279 Reed, John 33–4, 48, 49, 50, 51, 242, 293, 314n40 reform 270–96 other people’s money 282–5 personal responsibility 292–6 principles of 270–75 the reform of structure 285–92 robust systems and complex structures 276–81 regulation 215, 217–39 the Basel agreements 220–25 and competition 113 the origins of financial regulation 217–19 ‘principle-based’ 224 the regulation industry 229–33 ‘rule-based’ 224 securities regulation 225–9 what went wrong 233–9 ‘Regulation Q’ (US) 13, 14, 20, 28, 120, 121 regulatory agencies 229, 230, 231, 235, 238, 274, 295, 305 regulatory arbitrage 119–24, 164, 223, 250 regulatory capture 237, 248, 262 Reich, Robert 265, 266 Reinhart, C.M. 251 relationship breakdown 74, 79 Rembrandts, genuine/fake 103, 127 Renaissance Technologies 110, 111, 191 ‘repo 105’ arbitrage 122 repo agreement 121–2 repo market 121 Reserve Bank of India 58 Reserve Primary Fund 121 Resolution Trust Corporation 150 retirement pension 78 return on equity (RoE) 136–7, 191 Revelstoke, first Lord 31 risk 6, 7, 55, 56–79 adverse selection and moral hazard 72–9 analysis by ‘ketchup economists’ 64 chasing the dream 65–72 Geithner on 57–8 investment 256 Jackson Hole symposium 56–7 Kohn on 56 laying bets on the interpretation of incomplete information 61 and Lloyd’s 62–3 the LMX spiral 62–3, 64 longevity 256 market 97, 98 mitigation 297 randomness 76 socialisation of individual risks 61 specific 97–8 risk management 67–8, 72, 79, 137, 191, 229, 233, 234, 256 risk premium 208 risk thermostat 74–5 risk weighting 222, 224 risk-pooling 258 RJR Nabisco 46, 204 ‘robber barons’ 44, 45, 51–2 Robertson, Julian 98, 109, 132 Robertson Stephens 167 Rockefeller, John D. 44, 52, 196 Rocket Internet 170 Rogers, Richard 62 Rogoff, K.S. 251 rogue traders 130, 300 Rohatyn, Felix 205 Rolls-Royce 90 Roman empire 277, 278 Rome, Treaty of (1964) 170 Rooney, Wayne 268 Roosevelt, Franklin D. v, 25, 235 Roosevelt, Theodore 43–4, 235, 323n1 Rothschild family 217 Royal Bank of Scotland 11, 12, 14, 24, 26, 34, 78, 91, 103, 124, 129, 135, 138, 139, 211, 231, 293 Rubin, Robert 57 In an Uncertain World 67 Ruskin, John 60, 63 Unto this Last 56 Russia defaults on debts 39 oligarchies 303 Russian Revolution (1917) 3 S Saes 168 St Paul’s Churchyard, City of London 305 Salomon Bros. 20, 22, 27, 34, 110, 133–4 ‘Salomon North’ 110 Salz Review: An Independent Review of Barclays’ Business Practices 217 Samuelson, Paul 208 Samwer, Oliver 170 Sarkozy, Nicolas 248, 249 Savage, L.J. 67 Scholes, Myron 19, 69, 110 Schrödinger’s cat 129 Scottish Parliament 158 Scottish Widows 26, 27, 30 Scottish Widows Fund 26, 197, 201, 212, 256 search 195, 209, 213 defined 144 and the investment bank 197 Second World War 36, 221 secondary markets 85, 170, 210 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 20, 64, 126, 152, 197, 225, 226, 228, 230, 232, 247, 292, 293, 294, 313n6 securities regulation 225–9 securitisation 20–21, 54, 100, 151, 153, 164, 169, 171, 222–3 securitisation boom (1980s) 200 securitised loans 98 See’s Candies 107 Segarra, Carmen 232 self-financing companies 45, 179, 195–6 sell-side analysts 199 Sequoia Capital 166 Shad, John S.R. 225, 228–9 shareholder value 4, 45, 46, 50, 211 Sharpe, William 69, 70 Shell 96 Sherman Act (1891) 44 Shiller, Robert 85 Siemens 196 Siemens, Werner von 196 Silicon Valley, California 166, 167, 168, 171, 172 Simon, Hermann 168 Simons, Jim 23, 27, 110, 111–12, 124 Sinatra, Frank 72 Sinclair, Upton 54, 79, 104, 132–3 The Jungle 44 Sing Sing maximum-security gaol, New York 292 Skilling, Jeff 126, 127, 128, 149, 197, 259 Slim, Carlos 52 Sloan, Alfred 45, 49 Sloan Foundation 49 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), financing 165–72, 291 Smith, Adam 31, 51, 60 The Wealth of Nations v, 56, 106 Smith, Greg 283 Smith Barney 34 social security 52, 79, 255 Social Security Trust Fund (US) 254, 255 socialism 4, 225, 301 Société Générale 130 ‘soft commission’ 29 ‘soft’ commodities 17 Soros, George 23, 27, 98, 109, 111–12, 124, 132 South Sea Bubble (18th century) 35, 132, 292 sovereign wealth funds 161, 253 Soviet empire 36 Soviet Union 225 collapse of 23 lack of confidence in supplies 89–90 Spain: property bubble 42 Sparks, D.L. 114, 283, 284 specific risk 97–8 speculation 93 Spitzer, Eliot 232, 292 spread 28, 94 Spread Networks 2 Square 187 Stamp Duty 274 Standard & Poor’s rating agency 21, 99, 248, 249, 313n6 Standard Life 26, 27, 30 standard of living 77 Standard Oil 44, 196, 323n1 Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon) 323n1 Stanford University 167 Stanhope 158 State Street 200, 207 sterling devaluation (1967) 18 stewardship 144, 163, 195–203, 203, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213 Stewart, Jimmy 12 Stigler, George 237 stock exchanges 17 see also individual stock exchanges stock markets change in organisation of 28 as a means of taking money out of companies 162 rise of 38 stock-picking 108 stockbrokers 16, 25, 30, 197, 198 Stoll, Clifford 227–8 stone fei (in Micronesia) 323n5 Stone, Richard 263 Stora Enso 196 strict liability 295–6 Strine, Chancellor Leo 117 structured investment vehicles (SIVs) 158, 223 sub-prime lending 34–5, 75 sub-prime mortgages 63, 75, 109, 149, 150, 169, 244 Summers, Larry 22, 55, 73, 119, 154, 299 criticism of Rajan’s views 57 ‘ketchup economics’ 5, 57, 69 support for financialisation 57 on transformation of investment banking 15 Sunday Times 143 ‘Rich List’ 156 supermarkets: financial services 27 supply chain 80, 81, 83, 89, 92 Surowiecki, James: The Wisdom of Crowds xi swap markets 21 SWIFT clearing system 184 Swiss Re 62 syndication 62 Syriza 306 T Taibbi, Matt 55 tailgating 102, 103, 104, 128, 129, 130, 136, 138, 140, 152, 155, 190–91, 200 Tainter, Joseph 277 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas 125, 183 Fooled by Randomness 133 Tarbell, Ida 44, 54 TARGET2 system 184, 244 TARP programme 138 tax havens 123 Taylor, Martin 185 Taylor Bean and Whitaker 293 Tea Party 306 technological innovation 13, 185, 187 Tel Aviv, Israel 171 telecommunications network 181, 182 Tesla Motors 168 Tetra 168 TfL 159 Thai exchange rate, collapse of (1997) 39 Thain, John 300 Thatcher, Margaret 18, 23, 54, 59, 148, 151, 157 Thiel, Peter 167 Third World debt problem 37, 131 thrifts 25, 149, 150, 151, 154, 174, 290, 292 ticket touts 94–5 Tobin, James 273 Tobin tax 273–4 Tolstoy, Count Leo 97 Tonnies, Ferdinand 17 ‘too big to fail’ 75, 140, 276, 277 Tourre, Fabrice ‘Fabulous Fab’ 63–4, 115, 118, 232, 293, 294 trader model 82, 83 trader, rise of the 16–24 elements of the new trading culture 21–2 factors contributing to the change 17–18 foreign exchange 18–19 from personal relationships to anonymous markets 17 hedge fund managers 23 independent traders 22–3 information technology 19–20 regulation 20 securitisation 20–21 shift from agency to trading 16 trading as a principal source of revenue and remuneration 17 trader model 82, 83 ‘trading book’ 320n20 transparency 29, 84, 205, 210, 212, 226, 260 Travelers Group 33, 34, 48 ‘treasure islands’ 122–3 Treasuries 75 Treasury (UK) 135, 158 troubled assets relief program 135 Truman, Harry S. 230, 325n13 trust 83–4, 85, 182, 213, 218, 260–61 Tuckett, David 43, 71, 79 tulip mania (1630s) 35 Turner, Adair 303 TWA 238 Twain, Mark: Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar 95–6 Twitter 185 U UBS 33, 134 UK Independence Party 306 unemployment 73, 74, 79 unit trusts 202 United States global dominance of the finance industry 218 house prices 41, 43, 149, 174 stock bubble (1929) 201 universal banks 26–7, 33 University of Chicago 19, 69 ‘unknown unknowns’ 67 UPS delivery system 279–80 US Defense Department 167 US Steel 44 US Supreme Court 228, 229, 304 US Treasury 36, 38, 135 utility networks 181–2 V value discovery 226–7 value horizon 109 Van Agtmael, Antoine 39 Vanderbilt, Cornelius 44 Vanguard 200, 207, 213 venture capital 166 firms 27, 168 venture capitalists 171, 172 Vickers Commission 194 Viniar, David 204–5, 233, 282, 283, 284 VISA 186 volatility 85, 93, 98, 103, 131, 255 Volcker, Paul 150, 181 Volcker Rule 194 voluntary agencies 258 W wagers and credit default swaps 119 defined 61 at Lloyd’s coffee house 71–2 lottery tickets 65 Wall Street, New York 1, 16, 312n2 careers in 15 rivalry with London 13 staffing of 217 Wall Street Crash (1929) 20, 25, 27, 36, 127, 201 Wall Street Journal 294 Wallenberg family 108 Walmart 81, 83 Warburg 134 Warren, Elizabeth 237 Washington consensus 39 Washington Mutual 135, 149 Wasserstein, Bruce 204, 205 Watergate affair 240 ‘We are the 99 per cent’ slogan 52, 305 ‘We are Wall Street’ 16, 55, 267–8, 271, 300, 301 Weber, Max 17 Weill, Sandy 33–4, 35, 48–51, 55, 91, 149, 293, 314n40 Weinstock, Arnold 48 Welch, Jack 45–6, 48, 50, 52, 126, 314n40 WestLB 169 Westminster Bank 24 Whitney, Richard 292 Wilson, Harold 18 windfall payments 14, 32, 127, 153, 290 winner’s curse 103, 104, 156, 318n11 Winslow Jones, Alfred 23 Winton Capital 111 Wolfe, Humbert 7 The Uncelestial City 1 Wolfe, Tom 268 The Bonfire of the Vanities 16, 22 women traders 22 Woodford, Neil 108 Woodward, Bob: Maestro 240 World Bank 14, 220 World.Com bonds 197 Wozniak, Steve 162 Wriston, Walter 37 Y Yellen, Janet 230–31 Yom Kippur War (1973) 36 YouTube 185 Z Zurich, Switzerland 62

 

pages: 387 words: 112,868

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

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4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks

“That’s just pretty wild, right?” Morehead said. “I think when they dig up our society, all Planet of Apes–style, in a couple of centuries, Bitcoin is probably going to have had a greater impact on the world than Urban Outfitters. We’re still in early days.” Many bankers, economists, and government officials dismissed the Bitcoin fanatics as naive promoters of a speculative frenzy not unlike the Dutch tulip mania four centuries earlier. On several occasions, the Bitcoin story bore out the warnings of the critics, illustrating the dangers involved in moving toward a more digitized world with no central authority. Just a few weeks before Morehead’s gathering, the largest Bitcoin company in the world, the exchange known as Mt. Gox, announced that it had lost the equivalent of about $400 million worth of its users’ Bitcoins and was going out of business—the latest of many such scandals to hit Bitcoin users.

 

Stocks for the Long Run, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy J. Siegel

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asset allocation, backtesting, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, German hyperinflation, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, new economy, oil shock, passive investing, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

Psychologists call this penchant to follow the crowd the herding instinct—the tendency of individuals to adapt their thinking to the prevailing opinion. The Internet bubble has many precedents. In 1852, Charles Mackay wrote the classic Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which chronicled a number of financial bubbles during which speculators were driven into a frenzy by the upward movement of prices: the South Sea bubble in England and the Mississippi bubble in France around 1720 and the tulip mania in Holland a century earlier.8 Let me read you my favorite passage from the book. See if you can relate with this: We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one subject, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it. . . . Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked most of their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper. . . .

 

pages: 566 words: 163,322

The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

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3D printing, Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, dark matter, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Economic Geography, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working-age population

These varying explanations resulted in much confusion and contributed to the general failure of most big financial institutions to see the credit crisis looming before 2008. Embarrassed by that failure, the Bank for International Settlements, the European Central Bank, the IMF, and other authorities began to look at the problem anew, and, by 2011, they had moved along separate paths to similar conclusions. One strong thread in their research linked the major credit crises going back to the Great Depression of the 1930s and in some cases even to the “tulip mania” that tripped up Holland in the 1600s. The precursor of all these crises—and thus the most powerful indicator of a coming crisis—was that domestic private credit had been growing faster than the economy for a significant length of time. This is a very important clue. The authorities also reached another surprising conclusion: Although the total size of a nation’s debt—meaning the total of government and private-sector debt—does matter for the economy’s prospects, the clearest signal of coming financial trouble comes from the pace of increase in that debt.

 

pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, BRICs, British Empire, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, computer age, Corn Laws, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income per capita, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Economic Geography, New Urbanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, V2 rocket, very high income, working poor, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

De Vries’ more plausible story is that, as David Hume put it, “Everything in the world is purchased with labor; and our passions are the only cause of labor” — that is, greater variety of goods, for which de Vries offers a book full of evidence, tempted early modern Dutch and English people to work 303 days per year in the eighteenth century as against only 255 days in the sixteenth century.30 As Anne Goldgar notes in her book deflating the myths about the tulip mania in the 1630s, the Dutch at the time viewed “the flower trade. . . as a trade in a new product, one of many new products that had been flooding the country for the previous forty and more years.”31 The pretty well-off early-modern person said to himself: “I must have some of those tulips, that sugar, that tobacco, that porcelain,” in the same way that nowadays you must have the latest cell phone or blue jeans or high speed internet hookup.

 

pages: 624 words: 127,987

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kaufman

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, hindsight bias, index card, inventory management, iterative process, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, loss aversion, market bubble, Network effects, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, place-making, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, side project, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, telemarketer, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra

A simple blood test by your doctor can verify the levels of many essential nutrients—always consult with your MD before making any major changes to your diet or supplement intake. 4 For more on the neurophysiology of the brain, check out Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind by Gary F. Marcus (Faber & Faber, 2008). 5 http://macfreedom.com. 6 http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html. 7 http://www.timessquarenyc.org/facts/PedestrianCounts.html. 8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_business_cycle_theory. 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania. 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble. 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_housing_bubble. CHAPTER 8: WORKING WITH YOURSELF 1 http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/. 2 http://www.pnas.org/content/103/31/11778.abstract. 3 http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/hfes/hf/2006/00000048/00000002/art00014. 4 http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html. 5 http://crashcourse.personalmba.com. 6 Personally, I work with the folks at Timesvr.com—they’re skilled, fast, friendly, and cost effective. 7 http://davidseah.com/pceo/etp. 8 http://govleaders.org/powell.htm. 9 For a complete look at my personal productivity system, visit http://book.personalmba.com/bonus-training/. 10 http://www.markforster.net/autofocus-system/. 11 For an example of how I do this, visit http://book.personalmba.com/bonus-training/.

 

pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

Instead, they hoped their number crunching could give them something more valuable—the ability to see into the future and forecast the cycles of the market. That there were cycles seemed obvious to most. Securities markets as we understand them today (continuously operating, indoor exchanges) developed in the late 1700s as European governments began selling bonds on a regular basis, mainly to finance wars. There had been famous market manias and panics before—tulip mania in 1630s Holland, and in the early 1700s the Mississippi Bubble in France and the South Sea Bubble in England. It was only in the 1800s that observers began to see a certain regularity in them. Near-clockwork regularity, it seemed. In England there were market panics in 1804–5, 1815, 1825, 1836, 1847, and 1857. A famous early explanation for these cycles came from William Stanley Jevons, the mathematical economist, who proposed in the 1870s that the waxing and waning of spots on the sun—that occurred on an eleven-year cycle—was to blame.

 

pages: 1,088 words: 228,743

Expected Returns: An Investor's Guide to Harvesting Market Rewards by Antti Ilmanen

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, backtesting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, deglobalization, delta neutral, demand response, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, framing effect, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, Google Earth, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, incomplete markets, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market friction, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Journalism, oil shock, p-value, passive investing, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, savings glut, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, working-age population, Y2K, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

When Soros’s The Alchemy of Finance was first published in 1987, academics ignored or dismissed the reflexivity idea, partly because the practitioner-oriented book was written “in a different language”. Yet, it has found a large following among investors and it may have also influenced later academic work on positive-feedback trading and on bubbles. Other research also confirms that fast credit growth and financial deregulation /innovation are common characteristics of major booms that end in tears. Bubbles have a long, infamous history since the Dutch tulip mania (1637) and the South Sea and Mississippi company bubbles (both about 1720). Wall Street in 1929, Japan in 1989, and global technology stocks in 1999 are the most famous equity market bubbles of the past century. Of course, there are alternative explanations for these high equity prices but the explanations involving purely rational stories, such as time-varying risk premia, are unsatisfactory.

 

pages: 670 words: 194,502

The Intelligent Investor (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, hiring and firing, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, merger arbitrage, new economy, passive investing, price stability, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, the market place, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra

The sales charge is universally stated as a percentage of the selling price, which includes the charge, making it appear lower than if applied to net asset value. We consider this a sales gimmick unworthy of this respectable industry. 2. The Money Managers, by G. E. Kaplan and C. Welles, Random House, 1969. 3. See definition of “letter stock” on p. 579. 4. Title of a book first published in 1852. The volume described the “South Sea Bubble,” the tulip mania, and other speculative binges of the past. It was reprinted by Bernard M. Baruch, perhaps the only continuously successful speculator of recent times, in 1932. That was locking the stable door after the horse was stolen. Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Metro Books, New York, 2002) was first published in 1841. Neither a light read nor always strictly accurate, it is an extensive look at how large numbers of people often believe very silly things—for instance, that iron can be transmuted into gold, that demons most often show up on Friday evenings, and that it is possible to get rich quick in the stock market.

 

Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy

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airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, buttonwood tree, complexity theory, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, job satisfaction, margin call, New Journalism, oil shock, Silicon Valley, tulip mania

Small already—the entire nation was about the size of California, and populated with roughly half the people of the United States—their country was further crowded by the fact that little of the land was arable, and since arable land also tended to be land on which people could more easily live, the major part of the population was further concentrated into a handful of large, dense cities, where real-estate prices became more precious still. The remarkable result of these seemingly ordinary facts was that the commercial real estate in the city of Tokyo alone had a higher "book" value than that of all the land in America's forty-eight contiguous states. More remarkably still, this absurd fiction was accepted by everyone as though it made sense, when in fact it was every bit as madly artificial as the Dutch Tulip Mania of the seventeenth century. But as with America, what was a national economy, after all, but a collective belief? Or so everyone had thought for a generation. The frugal Japanese citizens saved a high proportion of their earnings. Those savings went into banks, in such vast quantities that the supply of capital for lending was similarly huge, as a result of which the interest rates for those loans were correspondingly low, which allowed businesses to purchase land and build on it despite prices that anywhere else in the world would have been somewhere between ruinous and impossible.