Readers reviews of The Moneymaker
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This book is
mainly of historical interest. Although the Mississippi Company is often cited
as an example of a bubble, the impact of John Law is much more important than
this. It is his ideas of the relationship between credit, money supply and
confidence that really laid the foundations of the modern economy - and its
political manipulation. It is unclear of Law fully understood exactly what he
was doing. It seems that a certain amount of after-the-event analysis has
discovered motives and understandings that Law was probably not aware of
The main focus of
the book is on the historical events of the French Court so there is not a great
deal of focus on the way ‘instalment warrants’ were first introduced, nor on the
real mechanics of how tiers of preferential shares were issues. This period sees
the first use by Government of techniques associated with the float of Telstra
and the use of partly paid shares. Cohens book, The Edge of
Chaos, is probably a better study of these events.
I would have liked
to have seen more analysis of just why the Mississippi Company attracted such
great popular interest and some explanation for the circumstances which made
people easy prey for such schemes. The Mississippi Company flourished at around
the same time as the British South Sea Company, so perhaps the explanation for
the behaviour lies with the times, rather than with the economics.
Forget the court
intrigues. By the end of the book we are not too sure if in fact Laws’ economics
were really just a Ponzi scheme.
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