Manias, Panics, and Crashes
By Arnold Kling
About the time the first edition came out, in 1978, I read it and also took a course from Charles Kindleberger. At the time, he was in his late 60s, and with his quavering voiced seemed even older.
I wanted to re-read the book, so I ordered the latest edition, which came out in 2005 with Robert Aliber as co-author. I might need to search for an older edition, though, because this does not feel like re-reading the same book. The problem is that the number of major manias and crashes since the 1970s has been so high that tulip mania now gets only a couple pages and most of the text refers to post-1980 events. And, of course, what we now call the financial crisis was still to come!
I have only just started, but I want to share a couple of things. p. 8:
One of the themes of this book is that the bubbles in real estate and stocks in Japan in the second half of the 1980s, the similar bubbles…in the nearby Asian countries in the mid-1990s, and the bubble in U.S. stock prices in the second half of the 1990s were systematically related. The implosion of the bubble in Japan led to an increase in the flow of money from Japan; some of this money went to Thailand and Malaysia and Indonesia and some went to the United States….When the bubbles in the countries in Southeast Asia implode, there was another surge in the flow of money to the United States…
The increase in the flow of money to a country from abroad almost always led to increases in the prices of securities traded in that country as the domestic sellers of the securities to foreigners used a very high proportion of their receipts from these sales to buy other securities from domestic residents…It’s as if the cash from the sale of securities to foreigners was the proverbial ‘hot potato’ that was rapidly passed from one group of investors to others, at ever-increasing prices.
On p.10, there is a box entitled “the big ten financial bubbles.” Only four of them pre-date the 1970s. Five of them took place during what we call “The Great Moderation” of roughly 1983 – 2007.