Before Wall Street: tulip mania
To bail out, or not to bail out? Commentators are bringing up images of the French Revolution, as with any other political topic du jour.
I prefer this featured Wikipedia entry, which takes us back to 1637 in the Netherlands, when one single tulip bulb was worth as much as 12 acres of land. Those were the days… Already then there was runaway speculation, followed by a spectacular crash. And yes, the Dutch government intervened and passed ad hoc legislation to curb the crisis.