Cynical Capitalist


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In the century and a half that the capitalist model has been the dominant driver of modern countries and their economies, it has arguably yielded an amount of innovation and wealth several orders of magnitude greater than all previous centuries combined. But nothing is ever perfect, and capitalism has had a few hiccups along the way. This website, reflective of my personal collection, celebrates these hiccups by showcasing memorabilia from some of the most notable failures in capitalistic history.

Destruction of shareholder value, massive corporate blunders, system-wide economic crisis, irrational exhuberance, massive fraud, government dismantling of monopolies, and just plain old stupidity.

The collection


Every portfolio item is tied to at least one artifact from the collection. Built since 2008 and still in progress, the collection is a way to relive some of the biggest crises in economic history through articles, objects and documents from their era, rather than from a position of hindsight as one could find by reading about each event years, decades or even centuries later.

Reading an article about Charles Ponzi before he got caught, or an Enron annual report before the scandal erupted can be quite entertaining...

Credit where it is due


Website template by Qwibble Designs
Descriptions & History (edited) by Wikipedia, Investopedia
Artefacts mostly purchased from eBay

Some History (favorite event by century)

Peak of the Tulip Mania, first economic bubble (and then crisis) in recorded history. Led by speculation over the price of the newly introduced flower, the tulip, in the Netherlands
South Sea Bubble, first crisis to cross multiple national boundaries
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written by British journalist Charles Mackay, is published. It is the first book about economic "bubbles""
Stock Market Crash of 1929, beginning of the great depression
Collapse of Enron is was is simultaneously the biggest scandal, largest fraud, and largest bankruptcy in History. WorldCom and later a few other would take the "largest bankruptcy" crown from Enron, but the Texas company remains the icon of corporate fraud and capitalism gone wrong