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El blog de Maria

Your daily Spanish Law reporter. Have it with a cafe con leche.

The man who exchanged his house for a tulip II: Tulips fever
18 August 2009 @ 19:28

Trias de Bes explains in his “El hombre que cambió su casa por un tulipán” ( The man who traded his home for a tulip, Ediciones Temas de Hoy 2009) that in Holland during the seventeenth century, there were bourgeois who pledged his house, his one year´s salary for ... a tulip bulb who was suppossed to flourish after a few months.

The business worked fine for several years........

[A simple mechanism:

Mr. Van A gave 10 for the option to buy a tulip ( a bulb actually) with the commitment to pay the rest of the price (100) at the flourishing of it.

Mr. Van A sold the bulb to Mr Van B for 20 and this committed to give 200 to Mr Van A at the flourishing of it

And successively...]

till, no one knows exactly way, even several hipothesis being in place, the speculative market fell down to a real market where the tulip was worth ..... “a tulip”. 

It should be noted that the tulips were at that time a symbol of social and economic distinction between the Dutch bourgeoisie. 

Sounds familiar?  

As "lessons" of the tulip bubble Trias de Bes exposes: 

- Deferred payments encourage the increasing of prices as it enables to buy and resell goods or assets in exchange of minor disbursements.

- It is dangerous to speculate from intermediaries at prices that no one pays on the final market yet.

-Bubbles fatten in objects of desire that people surround with glamor 

- The unsustainability of the price is not questioned. It is just assumed that prices will continue its meteoric rise: it can be offered a home for a tulip if you think the tulip is going to rise in price.

- In a speculative market professionals come from other industries, leaving their usual occupations.

( to be continued with the Bubble of South Seas)

DoF - Tulips por chrisbastian44.

Tulips in Madrid by chrisbastian44 at


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