by Jeff Thomas, International Man:
Market cycles have existed since the advent of lending institutions. As far back as 2,000 BC, in Assyria, merchants provided loans to farmers and traders. Often, this created prosperity, with greater amounts of money passing from hand to hand with greater frequency.
Not surprisingly, the interest paid to the merchants inspired them to increase the amounts they would lend, again increasing prosperity.
But periodically, hard times returned and those who borrowed were unable to pay back the loans, leading to recessions.