With the economy in danger of blowing up and the biggest government bailout in history in the offing, you may be wondering exactly what’s going on. I know I was, which is why I was glad I came across an essay called “Three Times is Enemy Action.”
This piece traces the history of Republican deregulation efforts from the Reagan era on and looks at the S&L; Scandal, the Enron Scandal, and now Bush’s “One More Scandal Before I Leave Office” Scandal. Without too much jargon, the essay breaks down what happened and who we have to thank for these crises. Worth reading, particularly if you are undecided on your presidential pick.
Here’s the money quote: “Um, sirs? Is it altogether a good idea to run up debts exceeding all the assets it’s even possible to hold?”
At Flying Lab I’ve done some research on the South Sea Bubble, a huge economic crisis in Britain in 1720 (coincidentally, the year Pirates of the Burning Sea takes place). It started as people rushed to buy stock in the South Sea Company and based on the crazy speculation that followed all sorts of companies formed, trying to attract the frenzied investors from all social classes. Here are just some of the ventures floated:
For supplying the town of Deal with fresh water.
For trading in hair.
For assuring of seamen’s wages.
For insuring of horses.
For improving the art of making soap.
For insuring and increasing children’s fortunes.
For a wheel for perpetual motion.
For importing walnut-trees from Virginia.
For making of rape-oil.
For paying pensions to widows and others, at a small discount.
For the transmutation of quicksilver into a malleable fine metal.
For carrying on an undertaking of great advantage; but nobody to know what it is.
I laughed at the idea of people investing in a perpetual motion machine or an unknown undertaking of great advantage. Oh, those silly 18th century people; we know better today.
No. No, we don’t.