Currently on the Kindle, for those odd bits of time: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Reading through the first chapter, regarding the Mississippi Scheme, I notice... well, first, of course, is that PTerry must be familiar with the tale, 'cause it starts with the preposterous premise of a notorious international scoundrel being put in charge of the brand-new National Bank. But, once past that obvious absurdity, things start looking rather less Discworld and rather more Ben-Bernank. (And Nixon, and FDR, and all the rest of the familiar players.)
Now on to the South-Sea Bubble, and... wait, haven't we seen this movie before? I mean, again?
Factoring in something I read a few years back regarding Tulipomania (not sure what aspects of that are covered in this book; that's the next chapter), and I'm beginning to see a pattern here.
A grand economic scam driven, or at least enabled, by the rich and powerful begets many lesser scams of similar (if sometimes more blatant) nature. Little scams fall apart quickly, ruining a few people; the big scam can go on for years, before collapsing and ruining a nation.
But I'm sure that could never happen here.