We Have Seen This Play Before

Courtesy of Hugo Salinas Price @ Fekete Research:

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in “The Telegraph” (The Telegraph, April 2, 2014†) is quite worried about deflation in the Eurozone; he says it may become entrenched, which would lead to economic disaster for Europe.

What we are seeing is a repeat performance, on the world stage, of a previous failed experiment with fiat money, as documented by Andrew Dickson White, in his classic book: “Fiat Money Inflation in France 1790 – 1797”, reprinted in 1933, when a great believer in monetary tinkering was just getting started.

In Revolutionary France, the French National Assembly gathered together the best and brightest men in France. They were the leading lights of the time. As worshippers of the goddess Reason, they could not for the life of them understand why human reason should not be able to devise an artificial money which would make the French economy function to perfection.


At the time, there were opponents to the idea of floating a new, artificial currency, to be named the “Assignat”. They pointed out the disastrous consequences of the prior French experiment with artificial money, launched in 1720 by the highly intelligent Scottish adventurer, John Law. But like those of us today, who are convinced that the present monetary dispensation will end in a huge world disaster, they were out-debated by those who represented the dominant spirit of the time.Just like our Bernankes and that ilk, the Revolutionary Frenchmen that promoted the Assignat experiment were committed to its success. When problems arose, such as the Assignat’s persistent fall in value against gold, they proceeded to punish gold-holders.

When commerce failed to revive and the population began to go hungry, all that those behind the Assignat project could do is what Ambrose Evans- Pritchard recommends for the masters of the Euro: “Print more, quickly!”

The French Revolutionaries printed, and printed, and printed.

When the whole ridiculous but death-dealing experiment failed, and the printing presses and the piles of un-circulated Assignats finally went up in flames in what is now the Place Vendome of Paris, who ended up on top?

The great beneficiaries of the massive inflation were – the wealthy, who became even wealthier.

During the Assignat inflation, insiders had taken on enormous debts in Assignats; the end of the Assignat wiped out their debts. With borrowed Assignats they had purchased vast tracts of land which the State had put up for sale – land which Catholic Bishop Talleyrand had proposed should be expropriated from the Church by the State.

With Assignats, the knowledgeable wealthy had also bought up all the valuable stuff they could lay their hands on.

Who was left holding the bag? The common people of France, who had saved piles of Assignats because they trusted the best and brightest of France, the Revolutionaries of the National Assembly.

Not one of these intelligent and highly educated men ever apologized to the French for the disaster they caused.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard will see the conclusion of the world’s infatuation with fiat money, if he lives long enough, and provided the conclusion is just simply a total collapse of the world’s monetary and financial system. It may turn out to be something much worse.

I shall perhaps not be around by then. But do not expect that any of those who think that fiat money is the only money that can ever exist in this world from now on will ever, ever, apologize for their arrogance and their fatal mistake.

Link to Ambrose Evans Telegraph article

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