Robert J. Shiller

Spekulativní bublina je sociální epidemie, jejíž nákazu zprostředkovávají cenové pohyby. Zpráva o zvýšení ceny obohacuje rané investory, vytváří ústně šířené historky o jejich úspěších a ty vzbuzují závist a zájem. Všeobecné pozdvižení pak vábí na trh další a další lidi, což vede k pokračujícímu růstu cen, ten láká ještě více lidí, přiživuje historky o „nové éře“ a tak dále. To vše probíhá v řadě po sobě jdoucích smyček a bublina se zvětšuje. Jakmile však praskne, stejná nákaza urychlí překotný kolaps, neboť víc a víc lidí opouští kvůli klesajícím cenám trh, čímž zesiluje negativní zprávy o ekonomice.

Než však vyvodíme závěr, že bychom teď po krizi měli vést politiku zaměřenou na zkrocení trhů, musíme zvážit alternativní řešení. Ve skutečnosti jsou spekulativní bubliny jen jedním z příkladů sociální epidemie, která může být při absenci finančních trhů dokonce ještě horší. Během spekulativní bubliny zesiluje nákazu reakce lidí na cenové pohyby, avšak sociální epidemie nepotřebuje trhy ani ceny, aby si získala pozornost veřejnosti a rychle se šířila.

Některé příklady sociálních epidemií, které se obešly bez podpory spekulativních trhů, lze nalézt v bestselleru Charlese MacKaye Memoáry výjimečných lidových bludů a davového šílenství.Kniha z roku 1841 proslavila některé historické bubliny: mississippskou bublinu z let 1719-1720, bublinu kolem South Sea Company z let 1711-1720 nebo tulipánovou mánii ze 30. let 17. století. Kniha však obsahovala také další mimotržní příklady.

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