Lead: The Bursting of John Law's Mississippi Bubble created great hardship in France and slowed the development of modern banking for a century.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After merging most of the national economic system into a huge holding company backed by the French government, John Law began to sell shares in the company. People wanted the shares because the company controlled development of the mysterious territory of Louisiana in America. The wild increase in the price of the shares in his Indies Company has since come to be known as the Mississippi Bubble. To increase the price of the shares his agents spread the word that Louisiana was a land rich in gold and silver. Actually it was little more than a worthless swamp. Law also pushed the price up with speculation. With each share selling for 300 livres or about $500 the bank offered to buy it back in six months for 500 livres. Rumors began to spread that Law knew something about Louisiana, or else he wouldn't offer to buy back the shares at a higher price. The rate went to a 1000 livres and the bubble got bigger.