The Process of Inflation in France, 1914-1927

The Process of Inflation in France, 1914-1927

The Process of Inflation in France, 1914-1927

The Process of Inflation in France, 1914-1927

Excerpt

Under the financial organization of society existing throughout the civilized world of to-day, currency and banking systems have taken on an importance little appreciated even by many historians. The Napoleonic era has been treated by many writers with hardly a mention of the extraordinary and far-reaching effects of the currency depreciation of that period. Even the accounts of the Civil War in the United States and of the more recent conflicts in the Balkan countries have been attempted by some without so much as a reference to the dominant rôles so often played by attendant financial disturbances.

But if currency and banking operations played an influential rôle in the earlier periods mentioned, what can be said of their importance in the decade just passed? Not only have our economic organizations become much more completely dominated by interlocking financial arrangements of many kinds, but the economic welfare of an ever increasing proportion of the total populations of all modern countries has been inextricably entwined in the complicated machinery of a money-and-credit age. During the war and post-war years this powerful and important but extremely delicately adjusted machinery has been subjected to severe strains and stresses both from within and from without. And while the machine as a whole has shown a capacity of adaptability beyond the expectations even of many of the more sanguine of its engineers, the processes of its adjustments have not failed in their turn to disturb greatly the still more intricate and more delicate -- though perhaps less well understood -- mechanisms of our social and political systems.

In a study of post-war France, therefore, it has been thought wise to devote one volume to an analysis of the process of inflation itself. While, in the existing state of statistical information (especially of that in France), such an analysis cannot possibly prove wholly satisfactory, it is hoped that something can be done to advance the understanding of some of the noteworthy financial happenings which, in the post-war period, have played such a vital and often tragic part in the lives of the French people.

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