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When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany (1975)

by Adam Fergusson

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328680,335 (3.9)10
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. Ge… (more)
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English (5)  Catalan (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Интересный взгляд на гиперинляцию веймарской республики. Большое количество фактов и причин гиперинфляции раскрыты в книге. Есть интересные отрывки из рассказов людей, которые прожили данную инфляцию. Раскрыты главные игроки, которые помогли осуществить финансовое становление Третьего Рейха. ( )
  kmaxat | Aug 26, 2023 |
Interesting survey of the post-WWI hyperinflation in Germany and to a lesser extent, the inflation in Austria and Hungary.

Until I was halfway through, I didn't know about the recent resurgence of interest in the book. (I discovered it through a reference elsewhere.) Despite the publisher's blurb about "quantitative easing" on the back of the book, and the author's Conservative credentials, I think anyone reading this as a cautionary tale about modern monetary policy may leave disappointed. As it was published in Britain in 1975, it may well be viewed as a warning about the inflation then taking place.

Read it for what it is--a sobering story of what happens not just to a country and industry but to ordinary people when currency ceases to have value and citizens no longer have faith that it will be worth anything. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
As the blurb said, at some point you run out of words to describe how the situation just gets worse and worse, but that is the point of the book...
Helps you understand why there's so many Zimbabweans in SA...
A scary read while Bernanke is priming the presses for more Quantative Easing... ( )
  rendier | Dec 20, 2020 |
This book got some stunning reviews on Amazon, but i found it to be tough sledding. Interesting topic and timely, but then book is hard to follow in places. ( )
  Mtatge | May 8, 2019 |
Adam Fergusson is a good writer. There are so many well turned phrases in this book describing the hyperinflation in Germany that paved the way for Hitler. I'm not sure what I really learned, other than maybe to grow a garden, buy some land, raise some cattle, have some gold or silver and maintain my moral sensibilities. To borrow one of Fergusson's phrases, other than a few snippets of wisdom I'm left "to wander in the quagmires of irrelevant historical analogy". Here is his summary, "What really broke Germany was the constant taking of the soft political option in respect of money." Here are some of his best phrases:
"Life ground on in a pother of financial worries for all classes."
"No situation, however, was so bad that summer that Dr. .... could not make it worse."
"It is indisputable that in those inflationary years Hitler felt his political strength as a national figure and first tried his fingers for size on the throat of German democracy."
"The longer the delay the more savage the cure." ( )
  SamTekoa | Oct 1, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Quando una nazione non può più fare alcun affidamento sulla propria moneta e l'inflazione ha coinvolto un popolo intero, è logico e naturale guardare alla storia di quei popoli che hanno già attraversato questa tragica e sconvolgente esperienza, per trarne informazioni e lumi.

(Premessa)
Nel 1913, pochi anni prima dello scoppio della prima guerra mondiale, il marco tedesco, lo scellino britannico, il franco francese e la lira italiana avevano pressapoco lo stesso valore, mentre occorrevano quattro o cinque di una qualsiasi di queste monete per fare un dollaro. Alla fine del 1923 sarebbe stato possibile cambiare uno scellino o un franco o una lira con una cifra pari a 1.000.000.000.000 di marchi tedeschi, ma in pratica nessuno voleva marchi. Il marco infatti era morto, dopo essere arrivato a valere un milione di milionesimo di se stesso, e aveva impiegato quasi dieci anni per morire.
Nella primavera del 2011, quando la crisi del debito sovrano imperversava in occidente, a Wall Street si leggeva la riedizione di When Money Dies, un libro scritto nel lontano 1975 da Adam Fergusson.

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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
What broke the Germans was the constant taking of the soft political option when it came to matters of money

The point of no return therefore, was not a financial one, but a moral one.

Germans learned that their traditional repository for wealth had disappeared, and thus the only mechanism for determining the value of an item was its immediate necessity.

Man's values became animal values.

A prostitute in the family was more valuable than a baby, a kilo of potatoes worth more than a grand piano, clothing more essential than democracy, food more needed than freedom.
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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. Ge

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