GBOAT: Is This The Greatest Bubble Of All Time?

Humans running Wetware 1.0 (which is all of us) love to gamble, and we are entranced by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. When there's a market for speculation, these wild swings of emotion manifest as euphoria (I'm winning!) and fear (I'm losing).

Thus the soaring price of goats due to speculation in 1740 B.C. Babylon so vexed Hammurabi that he ordered the execution of those he deemed responsible for profiteering off their clever speculative manipulation.

Speaking of goats, let's ask a GOAT (greatest of all time) question: what's the greatest bubble of all time (GBOAT)? The easiest way to measure speculative bubbles is the starting price and the peak price, but that may not do justice to the question. Perhaps the number of people drawn into the speculative frenzy is a better measure of GBOAT: after all, if only a handful of speculators lose their shirts, how that can be the greatest bubble of all time?

To even qualify, a bubble must drawn the masses into the euphoria and then slaughter them as mercilessly as Hammurabi massacred the goat profiteers.

Another qualifying factor is the scale of disconnect from reality. Even if you overpaid for a goat in a speculative mania, at least you can still milk the goat and make cheese. But tulips, which drove the remarkably excessive speculative Tulip Mania in 1636 Holland, are not even edible.

At least tulips offer a bit of beauty in a world besmirched by speculative ugliness, but the shares of the South Seas Company that sucked in the best and brightest in 1720 Britain and proceeded to lay waste to their wealth did not even have that saving grace.

Another qualifying factor is the power of the delusion driving the bubble. To qualify as a contender for GBOAT, the mania has to be utterly convincing and persuasive to everyone involved. In other words, it isn't even speculation to invest all your money in the bubble, it's simply common sense due to the dead certainty of the proposition fueling the mania.

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Disclosures: None.

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