Speaking of the credit crunch … – it is a tragicomic aspect of human history that one does not have to get accustomed to many really new things. So the recent credit crunch with all its financial absurdities is nothing unprecedented.

In his »History of England«, for instance, Lord Mahon relates a stock fever that caught the English middle and upper classes in 1720 and made them invest money in the most dubious business ideas in the hope for quick profit.

Lord Mahon gives this crowning example: »But the most strange of all, perhaps, was ‘For an Undertaking which shall in due time be revealed.’ Each subscriber was to pay down two guineas, and hereafter to receive a share of one hundred with a disclosure of the object; and so tempting was the offer, that 1000 of these subscriptions were paid the same morning, with which the projector went off in the afternoon.«