Adam Fergusson discussed his book, When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, at MOI Global’s Meet-the-Author Summer Forum 2021.
The full session is available exclusively to members of MOI Global.
Members, log in below to access the full session.
Not a member?
Thank you for your interest. Please note that MOI Global is closed to new members at this time. If you would like to join the waiting list, complete the following form:
Our Meet-the-Author Summer Forum aims to inspire members with reading ideas.
We are delighted to have Alex Gilchrist, a London-based research associate of MOI Global, host the Meet-the-Author Summer Forum 2021.
This conversation is available as an episode of Explore Great Books, a member podcast of MOI Global. (Learn how to access member podcasts.)
About the book:
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. Germany’s finances descended into chaos, with severe social unrest in its wake.
Money may no longer be physically printed and distributed in the voluminous quantities of 1923. However, “quantitative easing,” that modern euphemism for surreptitious deficit financing in an electronic era, can no less become an assault on monetary discipline. Whatever the reason for a country’s deficit — necessity or profligacy, unwillingness to tax or blindness to expenditure — it is beguiling to suppose that if the day of reckoning is postponed economic recovery will come in time to prevent higher unemployment or deeper recession. What if it does not? Germany in 1923 provides a vivid, compelling, sobering moral tale.
About the author:
Adam Fergusson is a British journalist, author, and Conservative Party politician who served one term in the European Parliament as an MEP. He has remained involved in the field of European Union affairs since, as a Special Adviser to Conservative governments and as a business consultant. Among other books, he wrote When Money Dies, a classic account of hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic. It deals with not only the economic impacts that hyperinflation had upon society in the Weimar Republic, but also the way that society itself changed. Societal norms were broken down in the wake of hyperinflation, and Fergusson approaches this topic. First published in 1975, When Money Dies was hailed as a cult classic in the wake of the Financial crisis of 2007–2008, with copies changing hands on eBay for up to $1,000. As a result, When Money Dies was republished in July 2010, becoming an internet sensation after allegedly being commended by financier, Warren Buffett.