Language Columnist Ben Zimmer on "Bubble"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ben Zimmer, executive producer of and the Visual Thesaurus, and language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, discusses the use of the word “bubble” in the financial sense.


Ben Zimmer

Comments [3]

Chris Garvey from Libertarian

Tulip Bulbs In 17th Century Holland
The Greater Fool Theory

Copr. 1993 C. Garvey

There is always
a still greater fool, Wit-
the high prices of tulips.
They look very nice
And their increasing price
Makes them better investments than blue chips.

Oh, the more of the throng learns what's there,
The more speculators will dare.
For tomorrow, crowds may,
Think the goods, bought today,
Are increasingly valued and rare.

You may think that the price is too tall
For something so worthless and small,
But, it's not what we need,
It is what we perceive
As desired and valued by all,

That's what makes rising prices a trend.
'Cause we know,
round the very next bend,
There'll be buyers galore,
Who'll pay still even more
And the price will just rise without end.

But, when all-who-will
are interested,
And, their spare cash
they've fully invested,
Then to sell, if you try,
You'll find no one to buy,
Your peak price can't now still be digested.

Yes, there's always one more greater fool,
But take care if you live by that rule,
When the smoke clears away,
Let the mirror not say,
"You're the last and the greatest of fools."

Aug. 27 2013 01:21 PM
Ken Browd from park slope

Was it Shakespeare who used it as an adjective, e.g. "the bubble reputation"? Might NOT be the Bard but what sayeth Zimmer?

Aug. 27 2013 01:20 PM
John A

Interesting that a word man uses "historical newspapers" and not "historic newspapers".
But are we all living in a bubble of self-deception?

Aug. 27 2013 01:15 PM

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