Gold Classics Library

Fiat Money Inflation in France
How It Came, What It Brought, and How It Ended

Andrew Dickson White ends his classic historical essay on hyperinflation, “Fiat Money Inflation in France,” with one of the more famous lines in economic literature: “There is a lesson in all this which it behooves every thinking man to ponder.” This lesson — that there is a connection between government over-issuance of paper money, inflation and the destruction of middle-class savings — has been so routinely ignored in the modern era that enlightened savers the world over wonder if public officials will ever learn it. In this essay Dickson White explores France’s hyperinflation at the end of the 18th century in exhaustive detail – its politics, its economics and the social consequences which led, in the end, to Napoleon’s rise as emperor.

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