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Blindsided by Jonathan Gifford

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A Licence to Print Money

Speculative ‘bubbles’ in which assets of various kinds are traded up by increasingly frenzied buying and selling are the frequent companions of economic booms — though it is quite possible to have a speculative bubble even when a country is in the middle of an economic crisis.

In eighteenth-century France, for example, the death of Louis XIV (the great ‘Sun King’ and creator of the Palace of Versailles) left France on the verge of bankruptcy, partly as a result of his palace-building habit, but also because of the incessant wars he fought with his European rivals. Louis outlived his immediate descendants, so that his great-grandson became Louis XV at the age of five, and France was ruled on behalf of young Louis by a ...

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