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BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

History
THE LONG VIEW
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THE LATEST PROGRAMME
Tuesday, 26 March 2002, 9:00-9:30 and repeated 21:30 - 22:00
Jonathan Freedland looks for the past behind the present. Each week, The Long View, recorded on location throughout the British Isles, takes an issue from the current affairs agenda and finds a parallel in our past.
Have you got a good subject for a future programme? Click here to make your suggestion.

Parallels can be found between a financial scandal, like the Enron affair, and the John Law scandal in 18th century Paris.
In the wake of the spectacular collapse of America's seventh largest company Enron, Jonathan Freedland explores what happened in the first ever stock market crash - the spectacular rise and fall of the Mississippi Company in 1720 in Paris.

The actor John Sessions and writer Janet Gleeson join Jonathan Freedland on the trail of the world's first ever millionaires. From the chi chi residences on the Place Vendome to the open air trading on Rue Quincampoix The Long View reveals what happened when fortunes that were made overnight were lost just as quickly.

The Mississippi Company was the brainchild of mathmatical genius and reckless gambler John Law. On the run from London having killed a man in a duel, Law's first achievement was to bring paper currency to France. The Mississippi Company was to bring even greater prosperity to war ravaged 18th century France.

Based on the premise that Mississippi contained vast quanities of gold, silver and emeralds, people initially flocked from all over Europe to buy shares in the New World. Law's own footman became a millionaire.

But when the dream of untold wealth was found to be based on an illusion, the results were catastrophic. Speculators and investors took to the streets and stormed the bank of France.

On Location
Left-hand picture:John Sessions, David Kynaston and Andrew Hilton.
Right-hand picture: The writer Janet Gleeson.

Left-hand picture: Jonathan Freedland recording on location.
Right-hand picture:Jonathan Freedland with John Sessions.
Like Enron the Mississippi Company was based on a promise of wealth that turned out to be an illusion. Like Enron the collapse of the Mississippi Company was brought about by a catastrophic loss of confidence in the market. And like Enron the Mississippi Company was predicated on that most human of follies - greed.
Join Jonathan Freedland in Paris to take the long view of a financial scandal that rocked the economy of Europe to its very foundation.
Also taking part are Andrew Hilton, Director of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and historian of the city of London, David Kynaston.
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In Our Time
Thursday 9.00-9.45am, rpt 9.30-10.00pm. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas. Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.
THE LONG VIEW
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JONATAHN FREEDLAND
Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. A weekly columnist for the Guardian and the London Evening Standard, he is the author of Bring Home the Revolution, an acclaimed analysis of modern America, and more recently a family memoir, Jacob's Gift. Next year he will publish a thriller: The Righteous Men. Read more about Jonathan Freedland

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