The Paper Moneys of Europe

The Paper Moneys of Europe
Their Moral and Economic Significance

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The Paper Moneys of Europe by Francis W. Hirst

Published:

1922

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The Paper Moneys of Europe
Their Moral and Economic Significance

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Book Excerpt

icious than that of a private forger. But we have not yet realized, in our minds or in our penal codes, that public vices ought to be punished at least as vigorously as private crimes.

That, even as a desperate last resort for financing war, a flood of paper money defeats its own object was conclusively proved a few years later during the French Revolution. The French assignats "have taken their place in history as the classical example of paper money made worthless by over-issue. After their final collapse in 1796, French finance reverted perforce to a metallic basis." So Mr. Hawtrey, a British Treasury official, who has given us recently a lucid and sufficiently detailed account of this extraordinary incident--extraordinary but no longer singular, for the same course with the same results has been pursued during and since the war of 1914-1918 by Russia and Poland, and in a greater or less degree by most of the European belligerents.

The issue of French assignats began in 1789 because the assem

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