In the 17th Century in the Netherlands tulips were all the rage and became as desired as diamonds. At some points tulip bulbs were so ridiculously expensive that one bulb cost more than ten times a skilled craftsman’s weekly earnings. The 1630s were the height of tulip mania. It was the Dutch Golden Age; people were flying high on the success and social wealth of the land. The tulip was a new flower in the Netherlands. There was an insane demand for the lovely bud and the bulbs were nearly priceless.

It was actually and unbelievably, an economic phenomenon. It was the first economic or speculative bubble. A bubble is when a product trades at super high volumes for prices so inflated that they are contrary to reason and intrinsic values. They are not caused by a famine or dearth of sorts, but more by a changing social norm. The true cause is not known, but it really seems if logic is applied; in this case it was a completely irrational trend like the Cabbage Patch doll, where people lost their minds and all composure to get a round headed doll with a made up birth certificate. Does anyone really need a flower so badly that they will spend three months’ worth of income on bulbs? The answer is a loud and screaming no. Were drugs legal in the Netherlands back then?

The madness started when tulip bulbs were sent to a Dutch botanist from the Turkish Emperor’s Ambassador to the Sultan. All the pretty flowers come from Turkey. Or is it all the flowers that make people go mad come from Turkey? Either way, a Dutch botanist planted the bulbs, which were meant to survive the harsh climates of the low country. Once they were grown at the University of Leiden, they became a status symbol, partially because at their introduction, they were only grown in the one place. So, there was a wait for more and the supplies were very low.

As each color was revealed, a new mania was born for it. Then, the growers shocked themselves and the public with the multi-colored buds which were actually the result of a bulb virus, called the mosaic virus. The growers were like celebrities and named every color variation with a dramatic flourish. Admiral of Admirals and General of Generals were two of the most highly regarded. Because of the varieties resulting from the virus and the long growing time, some color combinations could not be replicated or could take up to seven years to reproduce. Also tulips only bloom for up to three weeks a year. All of these factors make tulips a welcome sight every year, but in the 1630s, it made them a highly desired and very difficult to obtain status symbol.

Brown University economist Peter Garber generally doesn’t believe in tulip mania (fun fact: or Santa). He thinks it was pretty simple supply and demand principles. The bulbs took a while and some of them weren’t able to be replicated, so during the wait, demand went up, etc. Alternatively he does have a more interesting theory as to the cause of tulip mania, if it did indeed happen; he thinks the bubonic plague caused the hypothetical tulip mania. Strange, but an entire country being manic over a flower is already pretty out there, so it’s possible? In his words: “Although the plague outbreak may be a false clue, it is conceivable that a gambling binge tied to a drinking game and general carousing may have materialized as a response to the death threat.” Pretty sure this excuse – sickness, gambling and a drinking game could be used to explain a lot in the last four centuries, so why not tulip mania?

A more reasonable, and less fictional, explanation is that King Charles devalued Dutch currency. In the 16th century, as he put his own image on new coins, and repeatedly added value to ‘his’ gold coins and devalued silver coins disproportionately. Which is probably what anyone would do if they could make their own money with their own picture and then cancel out everyone else’s.

When the revolution began in 1566 free coinage was instituted to balance the money and all heck broke loose. Free coinage means anyone who brings metal to the mint can have it made into coins at no cost. Sounds like an absolute free for all and it did appeal to the world, which traveled far and wide to come to the Netherlands with their various metals. As a result, at the beginning of the 17th century the Dutch were flush with cash or coins rather. The Bank of Amsterdam was instituted in 1609 to put all of the various types of coinage in check, collecting the coins for deposit accounts. They issued bank credits depending on weight of the coins, thereby creating a uniform currency. Somehow this meant the Dutch were wealthy and looking for a new status symbol. Enter the tulips and the mania.

The prices of tulip and concurrently tulip mania crashed in 1637. The growers were left with the financial burden. The government wouldn’t allow contracts to be fulfilled, so any balances due the growers were canceled. Bankruptcies doubled in the following years, and tulips were banned forever from the Netherlands and labeled as tools of the devil. They weren’t really, but there was a religious backlash blaming the pretty little flowers for the decay of Dutch society and the financial crash. Nobody ever mentioned the gambling or drinking games.

I verb transitive wspominać, wymieniać +sb/sth – kogoś/coś ; nadmieniać +of sb/sth – o kimś/czymś
II noun wzmianka, nadmienienie +of sb/sth – o kimś/czymś

noun (plural noun bankruptcies) ekonom. bankructwo, upadłość (np. firmy, przedsiębiorstwa itp.), pot. plajta ; upadek (moralny, intelektualny itp.)
I noun pot. hulanka, pijacka impreza, biba ; szał (np. zakupów, obżarstwa itp.)
II verb intransitive objadać się +on sth – czymś, nie mieć umiaru w dogadzaniu sobie (np. w jedzeniu, piciu itp.)
I noun biol. kwiat ; biol. kwitnienie (kwiatów) ; biol. meszek (owocowy) ; rozkwit (o ludziach, działalności itp.) ; pot. rumieniec na twarzy
II verb intransitive biol. kwitnąć, rozkwitać (o kwiatach) ; przekwitnąć, rozkwitać (o ludziach)
noun med. dżuma dymienicza (jedna z form dżumy objawiająca się niewydolnością krążenia i obrzękiem węzłów chłonnych)
I noun pąk, pączek, zarodek ; zalążek (np. idei)
II verb intransitive biol. pączkować, wypuszczać pąki, być w zarodku ; zaczynać się, rozwijać, być w zarodku (np. o przedsięwzięciu, firmie itp.)
III verb transitive zaszczepiać
noun biol. anat. cebulka (rośliny, włosa) ; biol. roślina cebulkowa ; biol. bulwa ; biol. główka (np. czosnku) ; (also light bulb) techn. żarówka
noun ekonom. system monetarny (konkretnego kraju) ; ekonom. bicie monet, mennictwo
I adjective sprzeczny +to sth – z czymś ; przeciwny, przeciwstawny (np. opinie, idee), opozycyjny (np. twierdzenie), odwrotny (np. wiatr, kierunek itp.)
II noun (plural noun contraries) przeciwieństwo, sprzeczność
III adverb sprzecznie +to sth – z czymś, przeciwnie +to sth – do czegoś, odwrotnie +to sth – do czegoś, wbrew +to sth – czemuś (np. opinii, oczekiwaniom)
noun (plural noun currencies) ekonom. waluta, środek płatniczy ; ekonom. obieg, obrót (np. pieniądza, akcji itp.) ; popularność, powszechność, powszechny użytek
noun brak, niedostatek, niedobór +of sb/sth – kogoś/czegoś (np. pracowników, towarów itp.) ; nędza
(also devaluate)
I verb transitive zmniejszyć/zredukować wartość/znaczenie czegoś ; ekonom. dewaluować +sth – coś ; lekceważyć +sb/sth – kogoś/coś
II verb intransitive ekonom. zdewaluować się
I noun rel. szatan ; demon, zła siła, moc ; diabeł, pot. licho
II verb transitive kulin. mocno przyprawiać +sth – coś ; zadawać uciążliwe pytania +sb – komuś ; pot. niepokoić, nękać, dokuczać +sb – kogoś/komuś
III verb intransitive (BrE.) pracować +for sb – dla kogoś ; (BrE.) prawn. odbywać aplikację +for sb – u kogoś
I adjective nieproporcjonalny, niewspółmierny (np. o kształcie, wielkości, długości itp.)
II adverb nieproporcjonalnie, niewspółmiernie
adjective szorstki (o powierzchni, manierach człowieka itp.), chropowaty (np. powierzchnia) ; niemiły, przykry (np. w smaku, dotyku itp.) ; nieuprzejmy, chamski, opryskliwy (o człowieku), rażący (np. zachowanie) ; zgrzytliwy (np. muzyka) ; chrapliwy, chropowaty (np. głos) ; surowy (np. opinia, klimat itp.) ; jaskrawy (np. kolor)
adjective napompowany/nadmuchany (np. balon) ; nadęty, napuszony (np. mowa, artykuł itp.) ; wygórowany (np. nadzieje, oczekiwania itp.)
adjective wrodzony (np. dar) ; nieodłączny (np. część) ; anat. wewnętrzny (np. mięsień, nerw) ; tkwiący (w kimś/czymś) ; istotna (np. wartość, znaczenie)
adjective irracjonalny, nieracjonalny ; nielogiczny ; absurdalny, bezsensowny (np. działanie, interpretacja itp.) ; nierozumny, niemądry
adjective med. psychol. maniakalny ; szaleńczy
noun podstawa ; zasada, reguła +of sth – czegoś
adjective oparty na przypuszczeniach/spekulacjach ; ekonom. spekulacyjny (np. kapitał) ; spekulatywny ; spekulacyjny
adverb tym samym, przez to, skutkiem tego
I adjective jednolity, niezmienny (o postaci, wielkości, ilości itp.) ; identyczny (np. seria sukienek) ; monotonnie (o kolorze, wzorach, teksturze)
II noun uniform ; mundur (żołnierza, policjanta itp.) ; szkol. mundurek (do szkoły)
III verb transitive zaopatrywać w mundur/uniform +sb – kogoś ; robić coś jednakowo podobnie
Steven MalloneyKomentarze:02011-09-23 16:00:58
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