On #COP21 and the Madness of Crowds

These modern-day witch hunters have the potential to kill millions by denying the poor and less developed civilizations the benefits of reliable and relatively inexpensive energy.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Charles G. Battig

mackay-madness-of-crowds Click for the book

It is unfortunate that Charles Mackay is no longer alive to add yet another chapter or two to his insightful book of human follies, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.  First published in 1841, his book chronicles in sixteen examples of crowd psychology with some of the notable economic and social foibles of the past.  The preface includes his observation that “[w]e find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds on one object, and go mad in its pursuit: that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it, til their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

Chapter headings include The Mississippi Scheme, The South-Sea Bubble, The Tulipomania, Fortune-Telling, The Magnetisers, The Crusades, and The Witch Mania.  These and the other chapters were chosen by Mackay to…

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