Pop!: Why Bubbles Are Great For The Economy

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HarperCollins, May 8, 2007 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
3 Reviews

Bubbles—from hot stocks in the 1920s to hot stocks in the 1990s—are much-lamented features of contemporary economic life. Time and again, American investors, seduced by the lures of quick money, new technologies, and excessive optimism, have shown a tendency to get carried away. Time and again, they have appeared foolish when the bubble burst. The history of finance is filled with tragic tales of shattered dreams, bankruptcies, and bitter recriminations.

But what if the I-told-you-so lectures about bubbles tell only half the story? What if bubbles accomplish something that can only be seen in retrospect? What if the frenzy of irrational economic enthusiasm lays the groundwork for sober-minded opportunities, growth, and innovation? Could it be that bubbles wind up being a competitive advantage for the bubble-prone U.S. economy?

In this entertaining and fast-paced book—you'll laugh as much as you cry—Daniel Gross convincingly argues that every bubble has a golden lining. From the 19th-century mania for the telegraph to the current craze in alternative energy, from railroads to real estate, Gross takes us on a whirlwind tour of reckless investors and pie-in-the-sky promoters, detailing the mania they created—but also the lasting good they left behind.

In one of the great ironies of history, Gross shows how the bubbles once generally seen as disastrous have actually helped build the commercial infrastructures that have jump-started American growth. If there is a secret to the perennial resilience and exuberance of the American economy, Gross may just have found it in our peculiar capacity to blow financial bubbles—and successfully clean up the mess.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - xtien - LibraryThing

The idea is good: bubbles in the economy cost a lot of investors their money but afterwards, they leave us all a nice and paid for infrastructure. True for telegraph: after most telegraph companies ... Read full review

Review: Pop!: Why Bubbles Are Great For The Economy

User Review  - Joshua - Goodreads

Meh. Pretty simplistic, but definitely gets credit for making a point that hasn't really been made elsewhere (as far as I know...economists enlighten me please). That said, it doesn't make the point particularly well. But at least it starts the conversation. Read full review

Contents

THE RAILROAPS
51
THE FMAUCIAL UEW PEAL
75
REAL ESTATE
129
Copyright

2 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Daniel Gross, the "Moneybox" columnist for Slate, is the author of several books and is a contributor to the "Economic View" column in the Sunday New York Times. His writing also appears frequently in magazines such as New York and Wired. Gross was educated at Cornell University and holds an A.M. in American history from Harvard University. He lives with his family in Connecticut.

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