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The Glitter of GoldFrance
and the Emergence of the International Gold Standard
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Marc Flandreau

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257867

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199257868.001.0001

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The French Crime of 1873: An Essay in Interpretation

The French Crime of 1873: An Essay in Interpretation

(p.175) 8 The French Crime of 1873: An Essay in Interpretation
The Glitter of Gold

Marc Flandreau

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 analyses the end of bimetallism. It shows that the conventional view of an inescapable collapse is not founded. France, endowed with a large share of the gold output of the 1850s and 1860s, had enough gold to weather the modestly rising silver output of the 1870s and 1880s. It had also enough gold to resist to Germany's decision to adopt a gold standard in the early 1870s. Failure of international cooperation, it is argued, is what caused the emergence of the gold standard.

Keywords:   Suspension of silver coinage, Latin Union, International Bimetallism, Conference of 1867, Franco-Prussian War, War Indemnity, France's “expecting” policy, Strategic externalities, Switching costs

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