A Lesson In French Inflation (1959) by Melchior Palyi

By Melchior Palyi

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One could not any longer lease office or shop space anywhere in France without making the rent contingent on the index of wholesale prices or on the price of a specific commodity. In farm leases, money sums were replaced by quantities of wheat, butter, eggs, milk, beef, or chickens. Premiums and reimbursements in automobile insurance were calculated on the basis of metallurgical prices. The (nationalized) life insurance companies could not apply escalators; instead, they put their poliCies on a year-to-year base.

482. 768. -1,053. -1,046. - 600. - 587. d tODD francs) 3,437 42,417 ("Black"market prices varying widely) 807,500 581,000 531,000 576,000 516,000 437,000 426,000 445,000 464,000 551,000 546,000 555,555 • Bank notes, minor coins, sight- and term-deposits - without savings bank deposits. b In gold francs, not including gold coins in circulation. C In gold francs. d Open market price = official price. [57] TABLE End of Perpetual and Long·Term 1815 1830 1850 1870 1900 1913 1,272 4,627 4,886 11,516 29,128 31,452 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1928 1938 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 103 133 148 161 183 193 287 1,349 1,302 1,322 1,746 2,265 2,303 V- FRENCH NATIONAL DEBT Total Short·Term Internal (floating) Debt..

The real value may be a multiple of that amount. 3 Table III in Appendix B contains additional information. [44 ] franc was devalued. Devaluation was necessary, allegedly, in order to give French exporters an initial opportunity in the Common Market because of the fact that their wage rates and social security burdens are higher than in the other five member countries' and because 60 billion francs of export subsidies have been eliminated from the budget. Their burden has been shifted, in effect, from the shoulders of the French taxpayer onto those of France's commercial competitors.

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