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  #1  
Old 27 October 2017, 03:36 PM
Steve Steve is offline
 
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Default There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever

For decades, economists have pointed to 17th-century tulipmania as a warning about the perils of the free market. Writers and historians have reveled in the absurdity of the event. The incident even provides the backdrop for the new film Tulip Fever, based on a novel of the same name by Deborah Moggach.

The only problem: none of these stories are true.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor...g1xP9VSQJlG.99
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  #2  
Old 27 October 2017, 10:00 PM
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khisanth khisanth is offline
 
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I remember this being a story in my economics book.

It was intended to be a warning about bubbles and speculation. a la Beanie Babies, dotcom, housing, etc.

http://theweek.com/articles/461977/g...ie-baby-bubble
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  #3  
Old 28 October 2017, 02:52 AM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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Damn, does this mean I'm going to have to abandon the phrase I just picked up, "As happy as a Dutchman with a tulip like no other", as historically inaccurate? I'd thought that it would be a good thing to say if I ever had to pretend to be an 18th century bigot. (I had the impression that tulip-mania was in the 18th century; according to the article it would have been a 17th century phenomenon if it had existed. So there's one thing I was wrong about already.) Or just if I wanted a good phrase for a happy person. I got the phrase from Balzac, I think, who was writing in the early 19th century.

At least the South Seas Bubble was real, and that's the one that we actually learned about in school. Tulips might have been mentioned, but it was the South Seas Bubble we concentrated on. And the dot-com bubble definitely happened. I was there, and made money from it, and knew it wasn't sustainable, and then saw it collapse.

Quote:
That’s not to say that everything about the story is wrong; merchants really did engage in a frantic tulip trade, and they paid incredibly high prices for some bulbs. And when a number of buyers announced they couldn’t pay the high price previously agreed upon, the market did fall apart and cause a small crisis—but only because it undermined social expectations.
... Yes, OK, that's not far different from what I'd thought had happened. And surely "only because it undermined social expectations" would describe any sort of collapse of a market that doesn't have obvious inherent worth that matches its speculative value?

To me this is a bit of a straw man... the article tells me I believed some things I didn't believe, and then says they're not true and that actually the truth is closer to the stuff I did think was the case. So, fair enough I suppose. It still seems as though the speculation on tulips was significant enough to be used as an example of an arbitrary financial bubble, regardless of whether it crashed any economies.
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Old 30 October 2017, 01:56 PM
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So I guess the myth just blossomed?

That was just too tempting tulip it go......
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  #5  
Old 30 October 2017, 02:25 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Another thread to petal your puns?
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Old 30 October 2017, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Another thread to petal your puns?
Hey bud, it's not nice tulip off like that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
To me this is a bit of a straw man... the article tells me I believed some things I didn't believe, and then says they're not true and that actually the truth is closer to the stuff I did think was the case.
How dare you not misbelieve what you're told to. How can you ever be corrected?
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  #7  
Old 30 October 2017, 07:07 PM
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Brad from Georgia Brad from Georgia is offline
 
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Nuts. There goes my plans to write a musical called "Tulip Night Fever." Figured Travolta would be in it in a comeback role as a dancing Dutchman.
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Old 30 October 2017, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
And surely "only because it undermined social expectations" would describe any sort of collapse of a market that doesn't have obvious inherent worth that matches its speculative value?
I think the author was trying to say that the only widespread "crisis" caused by the tulip market collapse was social, not economic.
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  #9  
Old 30 October 2017, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for posting that. I have a copy of 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' and read the tulip story many years ago. I'm almost disappointed that its less than fully true.
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