Was Tulipmania a myth?

Chris Bertram reports:

Simon Kuper, in today’s FT, reviews Anne Goldgar’s Tulipmania,
a new study of the 17th century boom and bust in the Dutch tulip market. Disappointingly, it turns out that most of the stories are false. There was a boom, but it was a fairly marginal phenomenon in the
Dutch economy, and people weren’t ruined: the deals were done when the
plants were in the ground, but payment was due only when the bulbs were
dug up. Most people simply refused to pay, or paid only a small
fraction of what they owed.

Here is Peter Garber’s earlier revisionist account.  I’ve never been convinced by Garber’s claim that it was driven by fundamentals, but I am ready to believe that historically the crash was not such a big deal

Comments

Professor Cowen, if this was not the first large "market bubble", what was?

'Most people simply refused to pay, or paid only a small fraction of what they owed.'

According to John Steele Gordon's The Great Game, the same thing happened in 1869 in New York when Jay Gould's attempt to corner the gold market blew up in his face.

>>The speculation was strictly in futures, and also took place in a tavern, always good for
rational economic calculation.<< Not to mention for assessment of counterparty creditworthiness.

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