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Fiat Money Inflation in France Paperback – 1959

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Paperback, 1959
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Book by White, Andrew

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: FEE (1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0910614032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910614030
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,972,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
A clear presentation of a governments desparate move using cheap inflated paper money to pay off old debts and its effects on france around 1790. This is not a dynamic novel, but mind bombs go off as the author hits the chain of events that occurred when money is inflated, and is backed only by only a promise to pay the debt it represents. The French find themselves mired in a cycle of ever increasing difficulty to pay that debt off. Although it is not a novel and at times a bit dry, you will definitely be talking to your friends and family about what this author has to say and comparing it to what you see happening now.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Clark@xld.com on March 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Short book by college history professor can be read in one sitting. Easy to read, holds your attention throughout. Reveals effects of inflation. Even though it is a tale of history 200 years ago, as it goes along, the parallels with present day inflation in the United States are striking. It describes how individuals in the various professions fare under runaway inflation and it reveals which profession fared best, but I won't spoil the book for you by telling you now. Useful info.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Fiat Money Inflation in France is as much about irrational human behavior as it is about financial crises and runaway inflation. White describes a dissillusioned public who, under the influence of increasingly self-serving public officials and orators, accepted more and more assignant printings even though the perils of such printings had been documented throughout history and were then blatantly obvious right before there eyes.
White presented this analysis of the runaway inflation in France to dissuade the US Government of printing its own paper money. He was successful.
A book worth reading.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on July 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
This little book tells the epic tale of France's experiment with "irredeemable" currency (paper money which could not be redeemed for specie; gold or silver, i.e. "cash") from 1789-1796, and its devastating impact, particularly on the working class and those sent to the guillotine for violating various and sundry laws.

It should be required reading for every American, particularly congressmen and senators, for, although it was written almost one hundred years ago, the lessons it teaches are as applicable today as they have been all throughout man's history. It is obviously far too late for most nations to return to the gold standard, but this book also reveals the dangers inherent in a constantly and unlimited expansion of a nation's money supply. "Knowledge of the past," as Winston Churchill observed, "is the only foundation we have from which to peer into and measure the future." If so, the nations of the world ignore these lessons at their own peril, and so do their citizens.

So, if you'd like to know what might be down the road apiece, hopefully a very far piece, this is a good place to start. And, even if you don't make the connection, it certainly is an interesting story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Kallmeyer on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book is about the financial trouble that fiat (e.g.,paper) money created in France during the revolutionary years. It also states clearly that the people didn't learn enough from a lesson they had 70 years early.
If you read this historical account you will very often wonder: 'Hey sounds familiar to me...'. Too bad - or?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Windham Hillis on November 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an interesting historical primer on the monetary policy of the French Revolution, and adds an economic dimension to the crisis that was largely overlooked in my high school study of the subject (as far as I can remember). My only complaint is that it becomes somewhat repetitive, since the French kept making the same mistake over, and over, and over, and over again. I'm not an "end the Fed" guy but this was a very insightful book for those worried about our monetary policy or just interested in economic history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By david brown on March 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As noted by other reviewers this book is about the substantive inflation in France during the 1790s. Putting it simply the French politicians inflated the currency supply by issuing paper, theoretically backed by lands seized from the Catholic church and the fleeing aristocracy, to be used in lieu of gold and silver. At first this had a positive effect on the economy but it rapidly deteriorated to requiring ever increasing amounts of printed currency to maintain momentum. As they printed more currency the value fell, people hoarded gold and the government enacted draconian measures, including the death penalty, to force people to accept the printed currency at par. Ultimately it all crashed and the printed currency was wiped out.

This material is essentially a lecture originally given by the author, Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918) in 1876 and updated in 1914 prior to his death. It has had a long life inasmuch as "goldbugs" love the example of the debasement of currency while gold retains value. Today it has experienced renewed interest as the US government aggressively floods the markets with currency to offset the housing crash/recession. So this maintains historical and current interest even though there are many other examples of currency inflation (i.e. Weimar Germany).

The book has limitations since it is really a lecture, rather than a "book" per se, and the age of the writing. As a lecture it would be an interesting overview and object lesson in two or three hours. However there are a large number of points which simply can not be explored in detail in a lecture and could only be developed in a full length book (i.e. France attempted to index link loans to the falling currency value). The writing, while clear, struck me as containing elements of florid lecture oratory.

In all an interested historical artifact exploring an interesting historical event.
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