Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus, and language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, discusses the use of the word “bubble” in the financial sense.
Tulip Bulbs In 17th Century Holland or The Greater Fool Theory
Copr. 1993 C. Garvey
There is always a still greater fool, Wit-ness 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 tallFor 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."
Was it Shakespeare who used it as an adjective, e.g. "the bubble reputation"? Might NOT be the Bard but what sayeth Zimmer?
Interesting that a word man uses "historical newspapers" and not "historic newspapers".-But are we all living in a bubble of self-deception?
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Leonard Lopate hosts the conversation New Yorkers turn to each afternoon for insight into contemporary art, theater, and literature, plus expert tips about the ever-important lunchtime topic: food.
Sign up for the Book Club e-newsletter
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.