In the past 100 years, the rollercoaster ride that is the world of high finance has seen some spectacular lows. Sean O’Grady looks back at four episodes that not only came to define their times but also served as lessons for the future
Published: 15 September 2007
1907: The Bankers’ Panic
Sometimes, all that is necessary for a crash to occur is for the lessons of the last one to be forgotten. The Panic of 1907, despite having a strong claim to be the first of the modern era’s great financial crises, has been long neglected, although the South Sea Bubble and John Law’s Mississippi Scheme, both of which collapsed in 1720, will always have a parable-like quality in their account of unalloyed transcontinental greed.
Bankers and investors in Europe then lost money as a result of more fearless fraudulent ventures thousands of miles away, thus proving that globalisation is not quite as novel as we might think.