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Golden FettersThe Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939$
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Barry Eichengreen

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195101133

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195101138.001.0001

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Toward the Tripartite Agreement

Toward the Tripartite Agreement

(p.348) 12 Toward the Tripartite Agreement
Golden Fetters

Barry Eichengreen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

By 1934, it was impossible to ignore the contrast between the persistence of depression in gold standard countries and the acceleration of recovery in the rest of the world; the continued allegiance to gold by several European countries, led by France, has consequently been regarded as an enigma. This chapter shows how domestic politics combined with collective memory of inflationary chaos in the 1920s to sustain resistance to currency depreciation. Indeed, inflation anxiety in the gold bloc was not entirely unfounded, and sometimes it proved self‐fulfilling. When currency depreciation finally came to France in 1936, it was accompanied by inflation and social turmoil, but not by the beneficial effects evident in other countries. Here, as in the rest of the book, historical and political factors, not just economics, bear the burden of explanation.

Keywords:   abandonment of the gold standard, depreciation, economic depression, economic recovery, Europe, France, gold standard, inflation, interwar period, social turmoil

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