If you took an Economics class in college, you might recall discussions around irrational behavior and speculation leading to market bubbles and crashes. While the dot-com and real estate debacles might be fresher in our memory, one of my favorite examples of this was the boom and bust of tulips in the 1600s. Yes, tulips. If you’re unfamiliar, the story goes that when the Dutch Republic gained independence from the Spanish crown in the 17th century, it ushered in a Golden Age with growing trade and commerce. Fortunes flourished and estates grew, and soon the prized tulip — its bold colors unlike that of any other flower at the time — became a status symbol. As demand multiplied, speculators were drawn to the quick profits and the prices ballooned. At its height it was said that a single bulb was exchanged for 1000 pounds of cheese. But in 1637, a default on a contract caused widespread panic and the tulip market abruptly crashed.