John Law: A Twenty-First Century Banker in the Eighteenth Century?

  • Antoin E. Murphy
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


There are many parallels between the central bankers in the USA and Europe who eventually responded to the financial crisis of 2008 with ‘quantitative easing’ and John Law, who was heavily involved in financial innovation the excesses of which produced the Mississippi boom and collapse, excesses mirrored in the rise and fall of the South Sea Bubble in Great Britain later in 1720. Law had many of the characteristics of the twenty-first-century banker in the form of a self-interested drive to enrich himself and spend the proceeds of this personal enrichment in equities, real estate, futures bets and art. But Law, like his twenty-first-century counterparts, also understood that the regulation and supply of money do matter for the real economy.


John Law Role of money Central banking Quantitative easing 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoin E. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity College DublinDublinIreland

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