Lorraine Boissoneault (citing Anne Goldgar) writes that Tulip mania — the wild trade in Dutch tulips that ended with tulips worth more than mansions and a market meltdown illustrative of capitalism's flaws ‐ is mostly fable. Rather than a classic speculator-driven bubble that affected all levels of society, it was a fad among the rich of little economic consequence.
“There weren’t that many people involved and the economic repercussions were pretty minor,” Goldgar says. “I couldn’t find anybody that went bankrupt. If there had been really a wholesale destruction of the economy as the myth suggests, that would’ve been a much harder thing to face.”
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.
“In this case it was very difficult to deal with the fact that almost all of your relationships are based on trust, and people said, ‘I don’t care that I said I’m going to buy this thing, I don’t want it anymore and I’m not going to pay for it.’ There was really no mechanism to make people pay because the courts were unwilling to get involved,” Goldgar says.
Goldgar's book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age [Amazon} sounds like a good antidode to Tulip Fever,a recently-released movie that indulges the myths.
Brooks Brothers is the latest casualty of the Covid pandemic, filing for bankruptcy protection in New York today. The upscale clothiers, one of the last to make garments in the U.S., has been in business for 200 years. The closely held company, which is owned by Italian businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, filed for bankruptcy protection […]
I’m looking forward to interviewing Yuko Kaifu, president of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, for a live streaming event on July 17 about virtual meetings and how the rest of the world can learn from Japanese-style business culture. It’s free and open to all, but you need to reserve a seat online in advance. Join us […]
On Thursday, Tesla denied media reports that it fired employees who chose to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than expose themselves to possible infection at Elon Musk’s California factory.
Even among the many global varieties of alcoholic beverages, tequila comes with an exceedingly complicated history. I mean, it’s not like bourbon spawn articles like 19 People Share The Reason They’ll Never Drink Tequila Again or 11 Reasons Why We Have A Love / Hate Relationship With Tequila. Look, we get it. Tequila and its […]
Meditation seems simple. Just sit on the floor, clear your mind, and zen out. But have you tried sitting cross-legged on the floor without moving for even 10 minutes? It starts getting mighty uncomfortable after a while. And if you’ve got a few years on you, the knees and thighs are going to be barking […]
Unless you’re doing a lot better than most of us these days, having a personal masseuse on call isn’t really financially doable. And of course, how many masseurs are still doing house calls or accepting visitors during all this time of medical uncertainty? With skilled human hands mostly out of play right now, it falls […]