Adam Fergusson. · Rating details · ratings · 84 reviews. When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nation’s currency depreciates . Buy When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-inflation by Adam Fergusson (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low. When Money Dies 06/01/Adam Fergusson mass quantities of money coinciding with a shortage of money, mania and hysteria coinciding with mass.

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People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved.

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Paperbackpages. Published July 6th first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about When Money Diesplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Aug 11, Nick Lincoln rated it liked it Shelves: Heavy on numbers and written in a dry, detached style, this can be a bit of a slog at times. Nevertheless it’s compelling, in a car-crash kind of way, because the reader knows that this story is the precursor to National Socialism and carnage beyond our imagination at that time.

The excuse – if there can be one – for politicians at that time was Heavy on numbers and written in a dry, detached style, this can be a bit of a slog at times.

The excuse – if there can be one – for politicians at that time was that there had not been such an experiment carried out before.

Sadly, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Quantitative easing is printing money by any other name.

When Money Dies: The Nightmare Of The Weimar Hyper Inflation

The proponents of “sound money” who were influential 30 odd years ago are no longer heard. This book should be required reading ferguson every mandarin and flunkie adwm Westminster and around the world. Dec ferguson, Sagar Jethani rated it it was ok Shelves: Adam Fergusson has taken one of the more dramatic episodes in economic history and rendered it sterile and devoid of life.

His narrative suffers from an over-reliance upon the historical perspective described by Toynbee: The standard response is that only through runaway inflation could she hope to settle her war reparations with France, which she would otherwise have no way of paying. The British Prime Minister lamented that France sought to punish Germany without end, cynically maneuvering Germany into default and therefore paving the way axam a French occupation of the Ruhr– all of which played out exactly as he feared.

Indeed, France emerges as being more responsible for German suffering than has been previously described. She indirectly bears responsibility for the conditions that gave rise to National Socialism and Adolf Hitler. France occupies a seat of honor in the great tally of epic mistakes made by nations during the 20th century. One wishes Fergusson would have settled upon a more imaginative design than to open each chapter with dire words about how just when Germans thought things couldn’t get any worse, the difs really began to fall.

Perhaps that is an unavoidable hazard in telling a story about hyperinflation, where things, a-hem, continue to get worse and worse. A monwy effective approach would have been to track the human tragedy, to which Fergusson pays scant attention. When telling a story like this, one quickly grows weary of adding yet more zeros to the rate of exchange; such numbers only become meaningful when human affairs are attached to them.


Although Fergusson faithfully recounts excerpts of diplomatic letters, there is not enough examination of what average Germans experienced through the fergussn nightmare. One cannot help but feel that a more visceral account of the Weimar hyper-inflation will one day be told.

Mar 31, Anna rated it really liked it Shelves: I remember learning a little about the Weimar Republic many years ago during my history Ferfusson and being struck by the insanity of its hyperinflation. This book, originally published inseeks to calmly explain how such an extreme, bizarre situation eventuated.

By November of ries The government would shortly be moey to pay cash wages to the Army, to the police, or to its own officials. Already the officers of the Ministry of Finance itself were being paid partly in potatoes.

The bu I remember learning a little about the Weimar Republic many years ago during my history A-Level and being struck by the insanity of its hyperinflation. The budgetary estimates included on every page the outrageous reminder, in brackets, that all figures were in quadrillions [fifteen noughts].

Whilst the month before: On October 21 [ This madness was enabled by Dr. Havenstein of the Reichsbank, who cranked out more and more ridiculous denominations of banknote, until Germany was drowning in money worth practically nothing.

The highest denomination he reached was billiards, apparently also the highest ever printed. That would be ,, As the book ffrgusson clear, however bewildering this forest of zeros is to the contemporary reader, it was so much worse for those in the midst of it. Prices were very difficult fefgusson calculate and changed constantly; there seemed no hope of things getting better.

Those in charge of the German economy did not fully grasp what was happening. Havenstein insisted throughout that he was responding to inflation by printing money, rather than furthering it. In retrospect, it is easy to criticise those involved for economic ignorance. That would be highly unfair, given the multiple crises Germany was dealing with, to the extent whhen civil war and ides into multiple states was a genuine possibility.

Moreover, what might be carelessly termed the standard laws of economics, or at least expectations of economics, no longer apply when money ceases to be trusted. When hyperinflation ended, it did so quite abruptly with the introduction of a new currency, the Rentenmark. Fergusson gives a clear and convincing feryusson of why hyperinflation was allowed to go on as long as it did: Inflation was used as a tool to keep unemployment low, despite it becoming clear that the economy would need to deal with its underlying post-war weaknesses sooner or later.

The politics of hyperinflation are very interesting, including how the pain was shared between social classes and the initial rise of Hitler to national notice. Although the book is only pages, it manages a thought-provoking discussion of the consequences of hyperinflation, not just for Germany.

Money is no more than a medium of exchange. Only when it has a value acknowledged by more than one person can it be so used… The discovery that shattered [German] society was that the traditional repository of purchasing power had disappeared and there was no means left of measuring the worth of anything… For most, the degree of necessity became the sole criterion of value, the basis of everything from barter to behaviour. Contrary to any philosophic assumption, it was not a salutary experience.


Jan 05, George rated it it was amazing. Give you a insight of what happens in a hyperinflation. When the monetary system falls apart, society falls apart. This book also gives you and idea of the desperate circumstances the German people were living in, giving a better understanding of how Adolf Hitler could get into power. This book shows that in a hyperinflation of the currency there are winners and losers. Those with the best understand of money could avoid getting burnt.

This book will give you a better under Very interesting book. This book will give you a better understanding of how to survive a hyperinflation. You never know you might just have to live through a hyperinflation yourself one day! Nov 26, Andrei rated it it was ok.

There’s plenty of useful data and interesting anecdotes in the book – if you can manage to keep reading until you reach them. The writing alternates between confusing messes of exchange rates and prices to over-the-top sections that look like they were edited by replacing every second word with a more pretentious one from a thesaurus: Jan 04, Lisa Cindrich added it Shelves: Just arriving ataka “the year of the wheelbarrow. As always, with my paltry education in economics, some of the explanations go over my head.

But overall Fergusson does a good job simplifying things for the layman and only includes as much political information as is necessary to understand the economic developments. Also, the British diplomats of the time were quick with a witty jab a Just arriving ataka “the year of the wheelbarrow. Also, the British diplomats of the time were quick with a witty jab and I really enjoy the quotes from their reports.

Different situation than we are in, obviously, what with world war and reparations and such, but there are moments when you can glimpse parallels. I didn’t realize that Germany largely funded WWI through debt and the printing of money, rather than through taxation.

Resistance to increased taxation and to the abolition of assorted subsidies without a corresponding insistence on decreased government services and responsibilities. An ever growing bureaucracy.

No expenditure is too frivolous. For instance, Bavaria’s leadership, in the face of economic catastrophe, proceeded to double the annual subsidy for encouraging the pursuit of gymnastics.

Sure wish I had that money so I could pay for adzm dental work. Or, heck, so that maybe my family and I could do a little traveling ourselves rather than support someone else’s trips. How is this NOT state-sanctioned, state-conducted theft?

It happens to me a lot these days. Also there’s an interesting cameo wdam Hemingway, making a day trip with his first wife from France to Germany and how amazingly cheap their day of merry-making was. Hard to fathom what it would be like to run your household budget when “an increase of wages granted at the end of one week would not meet the rise in prices by the following Tuesday.

What was especially interesting about the epilogue is that the author explored the charge made against Germany that the government, in the face adwm reparations and debt, deliberately inflated the money, to inflate away those debts. Not that that really worked out, anyway. He defends Germany ably against this asam, but the leadership still looks terrible.