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From blockchain to the Wall Street crash, the stories we tell about economics have more power than we might think

A new book reveals how the stories we spread about the economy have the power to shape it in real life—for better or worse

By Howard Davies   December 2019

A man sweeps papers from the floor during the 1929 Wall Street crash. Photo: Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad Photo, SFA001018144

There is an oft-repeated story about the run-up to the Wall Street crash of 1929 in which Joseph Kennedy, JFK’s father, stops to get his shoes cleaned in lower Manhattan, and is shocked to find that the shoeshine boy is offering him tips on which stocks to buy. “If a shoeshine boy can predict where this market is going to go, then it’s no place for a man with…

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