Want to know who — or what — caused Wall Street’s melt-down last Thursday?
It was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Or at least the 21st century, financial equivalent.
It was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, of course, that got the blame for causing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (it turns out the story was made up by a journalist).
But while a cow kicking over a lantern might plausibly have started the fire, it quickly developed into a conflagration for other reasons.
Like a city full of highly flammable wooden structures all built too close together, protected by an antiquated, overstretched fire department
So, too, the spark for last Thursday’s stock market bungee jump might well turn out to be a clerical error on an especially large trade.
But it’s hard to believe the resulting fire would have been so big if there wasn’t plenty of dry tinder nearby.