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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 himself.

 

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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