Antoin Murphy on "The World's First Stock Market Boom and Collapse: John Law and the Mississippi System"

Lunch and Learn Series

Antoin Murphy on \

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Antoin E. Murphy is a retired Professor in the Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin and a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin. He has been a visiting professor at both Harvard University and Stanford University and has taught at the Central European University in Budapest. His specialist interests are in money, banking, financial bubbles, corporate ownership, macroeconomic policy and the history of economic thought.

Mr. Murphy is a specialist in the area of 18th century financial bubbles and is regarded as the foremost global expert on the first financial bubble created by John Law’s Mississippi System in France in 1720. He has written articles showing the parallels between 18th century financial bubbles and the more recent financial crisis. He has published widely on economics, both at a theoretical and policy level. He has had three books, Richard Cantillon: Entrepreneur and Economist (1986), John Law: Economic Theorist and Policymaker (1997), The Genesis of Macroeconomics (2009) published by Oxford University Press. The European Society of the History of Economic Thought awarded him the Blanqui Prize for the best book on the history of economic thought published in 2000. He is currently co-authoring with Donal Donovan a book called The Fall of the Celtic Tiger which will be published at the end of the year by Oxford University Press.

Mr. Murphy will speak about how John Law, a convicted Scottish murderer, became Prime Minister of France and created the world's first stock market boom and collapse. Law used his company, the Mississippi Company, which had trading rights to over half of the land mass (excluding Alaska) of the current United States, to convert the national debt of France into shares of the Company. He also used the Royal Bank to issue paper money which replaced gold and silver. For a period it worked and such was its success that the British modeled the South Sea Company on the Mississippi Company. Both the South Sea Company and the Mississippi Company collapsed in 1720 producing very different historical outcomes for France and Great Britain.

$5 tickets may be purchased at the door and include admission to the Museum. Feel free to bring your lunch. For information call 212-908-4110 or e-mail

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