Gardening meets Econ 101

Leo A. Martin
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 13:18:04 PDT
> ... why would an author from the Wall Street
> Journal be interested in bulbs, especially Tulips?

Go look at the paper now and then, or their Web site. I always learn
something, whether from the articles or the comments.

Look under Life & Culture, where you can often read about plays, novels,
fine art, architecture, food, and the like. The gardening articles in the
WSJ are targeted to people who aren't fanatics about plants but want a
nice garden to impress the neighbors.

We specialists won't find much there to interest us. You can learn an
awful lot about economics and business from the rest of the paper, though.

Many people who read the WSJ live in houses with gardens. They like to
plant things that look nice. What spring flowers does every child draw?
Tulips. (Daffodils are too hard to draw. I remember that well from

Like most of our neighbors, WSJ readers are afraid to think outside the
box when it comes to what to plant in the garden. (I want exactly what all
my neighbors have! I'm afraid to be different and stand out from the herd!
But I want it to be exclusive so people envy me!) They are also frightened
of gardening because they don't understand how to give different plants
what they need, and they are accustomed to every plant they buy dying.

Tulips and daffodils are what they think about in the spring. Yet they
need to show off for the neighbors with the latest, hardest-to-find of
everything. So the editor gave the writer an assignment to write about
what's new in tulips and daffodils.

As for tulips being the first documented speculative bubble.... Perhaps
the first with the price documented day by day, but certainly not the
first bubble. Speculative bubbles had been going on for millenia before we
got to tulips. Speculative bubbles are inherent in an exchange economy
between humans because we as a species are only minimally rational. We go
bonkers when we think somebody else might be able to buy something while
we miss out - unless we move fast enough and with enough cash.

Toss in government control of economies to benefit those in charge and
their campaign contributors, and we have an absolute guarantee speculative
bubbles float as far into the future as the inner eye can see.

If people think Wikipedia is such a great source, why come here for bulb

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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