• 02 Oct 2008 at 10:50 AM

Word To The Wise

But the most absurd and preposterous of all, and which showed, more completely than any other, the utter madness of the people, was one, started by an unknown adventurer, entitled “company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.”
Were not the fact stated by scores of credible witnesses, it would be impossible to believe that any person could have been duped by such a project. The man of genius who essayed this bold and successful inroad upon public credulity, merely stated in his prospectus that the required capital was half a million, in five thousand shares of 100 pounds each, deposit 2 pounds per share. Each subscriber, paying his deposit, would be entitled to 100 pounds per annum per share. How this immense profit was to be obtained, he did not condescend to inform them at that time, but promised, that in a month full particulars should be duly announced, and a call made for the remaining 98 pounds of the subscription.
Next morning, at nine o’clock, this great man opened an office in Cornhill. Crowds of people beset his door, and when he shut up at three o’clock, he found that no less than one thousand shares had been subscribed for, and the deposits paid. He was thus, in five hours, the winner of 2,000 pounds. He was philosopher enough to be contented with his venture, and set off the same evening for the Continent.
He was never heard of again.
[Charles MacKay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, Volume One]

39 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (39)

  1. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Fuh….what????
    ~Fake Geico Caveman

  2. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    And thats the story of your great great grandpa.
    -Dick Fuld bedtime stories to his children

  3. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Too long…what the fuck was this shit.
    Please – get these post back to reality not this obscure ass shit.

  4. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    and the only thing left in his office was a stained picture of an egret

  5. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    that was f-g useless

  6. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    egrettt

  7. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    what the hell is this garbage
    get rid of it

  8. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    EP thinks she’s smarter than everyone.

  9. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    I don’t quite get the metaphor here either. Who are you making fun of?

  10. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    EP is smarter than everyone.

  11. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    Piker.
    Nowadays the deposit is £20,000 per share, with an indicated annual payout of £1,000,000 per annum and a capital call of £980,000 due one month after subscription.
    I will be taking deposits (cash only, please, no TARP certificates accepted) in the lobby of Claridge’s Hotel, Brook Street, London W1K 4HR from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm tomorrow, Friday, 3rd October 2008. Look for the distinguished gentleman with top hat and slightly dated looking clothes.
    The subscription is strictly limited to 1,000 shares. First come, first served, with the exception of hedge fund managers, who will be served before everyone else as long as they pay the entire £1,000,000 subscription price up front.
    – Eustace P. Witherbottom-Sykes, Esq.

  12. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    kinda like the private equity biz who provided many (ahem ahem) with a cushy living for a while.
    lots of converts these days around the tubes. kinda like ‘revolution rights for the lil guy carney’ working for a pious named blodget.

  13. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Why is there an ad with Henry Blodget’s face on DB? NOOOOOOOOOO

  14. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    @9 — @1, @3, @5, @7, @8, and–yep–@9. You know, the Yahoo message board Yahoos, who would sign up for such a deal in a heartbeat.
    “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to sound like complete idiots.”

  15. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    @13 helping Carney out

  16. Posted by Henry Ryecroft | October 2, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    Jamais gouvernement plus capricieux, jamais despotisme
    plus frénétique ne se virent sous un régent
    moins ferme. Le plus inconcevable des prodiges pour
    ceux qui ont été témoins de ce temps-là, et qui le
    regardent aujourd’hui comme un rêve, c’est qu’il n’en
    ait pas résulté une révoiution subite que le Régent
    et Law n’aient pas péri tragiquement. Ils étoient en
    horreur, mais on se bornoit à des murmures un désespoir
    sombre et timide, une consternation stupide
    avoient saisi tous les esprits; les coeurs étoient trop
    avilis pour être capables de crimes courageux.
    – Duclos on the handling of the John Law crisis in 1720

  17. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:02 AM

    @13 helping Carney out

  18. Posted by whatelseisgoingon | October 2, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    So did the investors get a nice return? don’t leave me hanging

  19. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Hi guys, Barney Frank here.
    Why am I still in office?
    Thanks!

  20. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    @ 15 & 19 – It’s not even for Clusterstock.

  21. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Bess,
    This is too long and convoluted.
    As a serial reader of this blog, I find this entry unworthy.
    El Cid

  22. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    @21 bess didn’t write this, halfwit.

  23. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:33 AM

    Hi guys. I have $250 to invest. Any hotttt tips?

  24. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    @20, who runs clusterstock?

  25. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    Popular Extraordinary Delusions, is one of the best books ever written on the subject of mass delusion. Had it not been written, most of us never would have heard of Tulipmania.
    Highly recommended read.

  26. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 11:45 AM

    EP – ignore the philistines. I think theres a growing contingent of readers who enjoy the the classy/obscure material you bring to the table.
    NOT

  27. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM

    When is carney coming back to DB?

  28. Posted by ep | October 2, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    “Posted by guest, Oct 02, 2008 12:03PM
    When is carney coming back to DB?”
    Every time someone asks, we add 30 days to his scheduled return date.

  29. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    When is Carney coming back?
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  30. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    You can do better..off to clusterstock.com we go

  31. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    When is Carney coming back?
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  32. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    @30 you’ve obviously been leaving all the comments here so yes, off you go, back to clusterstock, loser.

  33. Posted by guest | October 2, 2008 at 1:11 PM

    clusterstock absolutely blows. anyone shouting about how great it is must work there or be related by marriage or blood to the editors.

  34. Posted by Mr Jones | October 2, 2008 at 2:29 PM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sea_Bubble
    EP – don’t ever change. ;o)

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