William A Gardner

16

February
2019

Culture

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OTHER RECENT POSTS

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Winter Silence

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The Disease of Affluence

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The Bane of Arthritis

Relativism and the Madness of Crowds

The Attractive Tyranny of Group Think


Some years ago I read a book titled "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" which affected me sufficiently to never forget it. The author, Charles Mackay, was a Scottish journalist and in this particular book (originally volume one of three and published in the mid-1800's) he discussed crowd psychology and financial bubbles. The Tulip Mania of the early 17th Century, during which people bought and sold tulip bulbs at increasingly outrageous prices until the market for them collapsed, is perhaps one of the best known historic examples. Ordinary citizens made and lost fortunes. There was an apocryphal story about one gentleman who paid what was probably his entire family savings for one tulip bulb, taking it home for safekeeping until he could sell it at a considerable profit. Unfortunately his wife, who had not been informed of the purchase for good reason, found the bulb in the house and, mistaking it for a type of onion, cooked it for their supper. There are many [...]    
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