The Bubble That Broke Kuwait : The Indicator from Planet Money How a simple financial innovation turned a parking garage in Kuwait into one of the most important markets in the world... and how it all came crashing down.

The Bubble That Broke Kuwait

The Bubble That Broke Kuwait

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/790972284/793108109" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Stock traders in 1987 taking a break in the official Kuwait Stock Exchange, which was created in the aftermath of The Souk al-Manakh crisis with an eye towards preventing future speculative bubbles. Langevin Jacques/Sygma via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Langevin Jacques/Sygma via Getty Images

Stock traders in 1987 taking a break in the official Kuwait Stock Exchange, which was created in the aftermath of The Souk al-Manakh crisis with an eye towards preventing future speculative bubbles.

Langevin Jacques/Sygma via Getty Images

In the early 1980s, Kuwait's unofficial stock market — run out of a parking garage on the site of an old camel market — was the third largest in the world, second only to the U.S. and Japan. But then, in an instant, it all came crashing down, plunging Kuwait into a brutal recession that would last for nearly a decade. How is it that a simple financial innovation could create such vast wealth and such devastating chaos? And what can it teach us about the fundamental forces at the heart of modern capitalism?

Today on The Indicator: the story of the Souk al-Manakh and one of the greatest stock bubbles of all time.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.