By Kenneth Mouré
Did French gold coverage reason the good melancholy? The foremost phantasm attracts on newly-available French files to check the ideal interpretation of the good melancholy. It presents a historical past of French financial figuring out, policy-making, and politics in regards to gold, financial coverage, and the foremost position of monetary difficulties in political instability from 1914 to 1939.
Read or Download The Gold Standard Illusion: France, the Bank of France, and the International Gold Standard, 1914-1939 PDF
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Additional info for The Gold Standard Illusion: France, the Bank of France, and the International Gold Standard, 1914-1939
But the notion that policy was determined by the underlying principles of a ‘gold standard regime’ is criticized. In France and elsewhere, policy was determined by political influences, economic ideas, and by institutions and individuals deciding policy within intellectual constraints they adopted willingly. The argument favours the agency of individuals and institutions over regime- and rule-determined predestination. Second, the ‘credibility and co-operation’ explanation which contrasts the stability of the pre-1914 gold standard with the instability of the inter-war period is discounted.
5 England had been on a gold standard de facto since 1717, de jure since 1821. Both British decisions contained a distinctly accidental element. In 1717 Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Mint, set the silver price for gold guineas too high, intending that it be revised. 7 British monetary theorists viewed the spread of the gold standard on the Continent in the 1870s and its entrenchment in Britain with scepticism. In 1886, Herbert S. 8 British theorists were particularly concerned by the potential deflationary consequences as expansion of the gold standard increased the needs of central banks for gold reserves.
5 Jacques E. Mertens, La Naissance et le développement de l’étalon-or, 1690–1922 (Louvain: Éditions Em. Warny, 1944), 111–51, 358; and Marc Flandreau, ‘The French Crime of 1873: An Essay on the Emergence of the International Gold Standard, 1870–1880’, Journal of Economic History, 56, no. 4 (1996), 862–97. See also Bertrand Blancheton, ‘Trésor, Banque de France et politique monétaire de la France entre 1914 et 1928’ (doctoral thesis completed under the direction of Jean-Charles Asselain, Université Montesquieu-Bordeaux IV, 1999), 97.