Mississippi Company

Definition of 'Mississippi Company'


An example of a famous speculative bubble that occurred from 1719-1720. In 1715 the country of France was in a dire economic straits, with an unstable treasury and a wildly fluctuating currency. John Law, a Scotsman and noted gambler living in exile in France, helped the government convert to paper currency (by taking metallic coinage deposits and giving banknotes equal to value of the currency on the day of deposit) and find its economic footing. In 1717 he acquired the Mississippi Company, to which the French government gave a monopoly on trading rights with its colonies in gratitude for his assistance.

Investopedia explains 'Mississippi Company'


In 1719 Law created a plan to restructure the French national debt under the Mississippi Company's auspices, exchanging company shares for debt and guaranteeing significant profits. Investors flocked, the national bank (now effectively owned by Law) printed money in response and massive inflation ensued. A bank run followed in May 1721 and the French treasury admitted that it did not have enough metallic currency to cover its paper instruments. It attempted to devalue Mississippi Company shares to no avail and finally the bank stopped paying in coinage. Shares in the company quickly plummeted to zero, the company was overtaken and divested of its assets divested and Law went into exile once more.

Other famous speculative bubbles include:


  • The 1630s tulip bubble in the Netherlands
  • The South Sea bubble of 1720
  • The bull market of the roaring 20s from 1924-1929
  • Japan's bubble economy of 1980





comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  2. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  3. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
  4. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective extraction technology. Re-fracking can be effective on especially tight oil deposits – where the shale products low yields – to extend their productivity.
  5. TIMP (acronym)

    'TIMP' is an acronym that stands for 'Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and Philippines.' Similar to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the acronym was coined by and investor/economist to group fast-growing emerging market economies in similar states of economic development.
  6. Pension Risk Transfer

    When a defined benefit pension provider offloads some or all of the plan’s risk – e.g.: retirement payment liabilities to former employee beneficiaries. The plan sponsor can do this by offering vested plan participants a lump-sum payment to voluntarily leave the plan, or by negotiating with an insurance company to take on the responsibility for paying benefits.
Trading Center