Lead: The face of financial panic is an ugly one. Among the earliest in the modern era was caused by the bursting of John Law's Mississippi Bubble.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The study economics is a fairly recent thing. Until the 1800s very few thinkers began to understand the way the world worked. Before the Industrial Revolution, before Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations, before people knew the meaning of business cycles, inflation, economic depressions, or even before there was widespread use of paper money, a Scotsman, John Law created in early 18th century France an economic system very similar to a modern industrial economy and then watched it self-destruct. He was at least a century ahead of his time. For three years he was the most powerful man in France, some said in all of continental Europe, but he died penniless.