It’s been 171 years since Charles Mackay published his classic work, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. The recent housing bubble demonstrated that human nature has not changed much in those intervening years. More immediately, the major disappointment stemming from the Facebook IPO shows that “social media” fans are no less susceptible to “the herd mentality” than those who pursued tulip bulbs and dot-com stocks over the cliff. What happened? Why was it so predictable? Why don’t people learn from the past? We’ll explain.
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