Tag Archives: tulip illustration from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Paying ten times your salary for one tulip bulb

In his classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay wrote about specific historical events in which human folly ousted normal reason in the pursuit of mass hysteria. His thesis: people are easily swayed by public manipulation and the latest waves of appeal.  The best-known historical case of this mob mentality occurred in the Netherlands in the 1600s. People went crazy over tulips. In fact, some paid as much as ten times the average yearly income for one tulip bulb; huge mansions were cheaper than one flower!

In 1637 the tulip bubble burst, and prices plummeted back to normal. But the aftermath was not pretty; hoards of people were left with nothing.

Be wise – B

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