History of capitalism  

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The history of capitalism can be traced back to early forms of merchant capitalism practiced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages, though many economic historians consider the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country. In early modern Europe it featured the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and retirement funds as well as such less benign phenomena as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636-1637, and according to Murray Sayle, the world's first bear raider Isaac le Maire, who in 1607 forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount.

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