When Money Dies
The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-inflation
Автор(и) : Adam Fergusson
Издател : Old Street Publishing Ltd.
Място на издаване : London, UK
Година на издаване : 2010
ISBN : 978-1-906964-44-3
Брой страници : 288
Език : английски
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When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nation’s currency depreciates beyond recovery. In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 marks), the German republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved. Germany’s finances descended into chaos, with severe social unrest in its wake.
Money may no longer be physically printed and distributed in the voluminous quantities of 1923. However, “quantitative easing,” that modern euphemism for surreptitious deficit financing in an electronic era, can no less become an assault on monetary discipline. Whatever the reason for a country’s deficit—necessity or profligacy, unwillingness to tax or blindness to expenditure—it is beguiling to suppose that if the day of reckoning is postponed economic recovery will come in time to prevent higher unemployment or deeper recession. What if it does not? Germany in 1923 provides a vivid, compelling, sobering moral tale.
“Just before the First World War in 1913, the German mark, the British shilling, the French franc, and the Italian lira were all worth about the same, and four or five of any were worth about a dollar. At the end of 1923, it would have been possible to exchange a shilling, a franc or a lira for up to 1,000,000,000,000 marks, although in practice by then no one was willing to take marks in return for anything. The mark was dead, one million-millionth of its former self. It had taken almost ten years to die.”
Adam Dugdale Fergusson (1932) is a British journalist, author and Conservative Pparty politician who served one term in the European Parliament. He has remained involved in the field of European Union affairs since, as a Special Adviser to Conservative governments and as a business consultant. Among other books, he wrote When Money Dies, a classic account of hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic. First published in 1975, When Money Dies was hailed as a cult classic in the wake of the Financial crisis of 2007-2010, with copies changing hands on eBay for up to $1000. As a result, When Money Dies was republished in July 2010, becoming an internet sensation after allegedly being recommended by financier, Warren Buffet.