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


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