A Short History of Financial Euphoria (Whittle) by John Kenneth Galbraith

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By John Kenneth Galbraith

The world-renowned economist stories the nice speculative episodes of the final 3 centuries, together with the calamitous junk-bond follies of the Eighties, and indicates how the teachings of heritage may help humans stay away from monetary calamity. 40,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo.

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Extra resources for A Short History of Financial Euphoria (Whittle)

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Again the wheel, here in an especially fragile version. The final and common feature of the speculative episode-in stock markets, real estate, art, or junk bonds-is what happens after the inevitable crash. This, invariably, will be a time of anger and recrimination and also of profoundly unsubtle introspection. The anger will fix upon the individuals who were previously most admired for their financial imagination and acuity. Some of them, having been persuaded of their own exemption from confining orthodoxy, will, as noted, have gone beyond the law, and their fall and, occasionally, their incarceration will now be viewed with righteous satisfaction.

But even in the case of Law, a word of caution is in order. John Law's scheme skepticism. Such seeming innova- to payoff France's tion is merely some variant on an in the nonexistent gold old design, new only in the brief riches of Louisiana ended in ruin. debts by selling shares and defective memory of the financial world. No one over the centuries has been more celebrated than John Law; the Encyclopaedia Britannica declares him to have been both an honest man and a financial genius. In his case too, however, let there be doubts.

His winnings, it is said, were the result of his having worked out the odds in a contemporary version of crapssomething that would now have him barred from the tables. In the Netherlands he also observed the operations of the great and successful Bank of Amsterdam and gave thought to banking and to the idea of a land bank that would take over landed property and issue notes secured by the real estate as loans. Just how the land would be redeemed by noteholders was uncertain. The idea was, however, important for his future career in Paris.

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