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By Thomas Sowell

This reconsideration of the macroeconomics, microeconomics, technique, and social philosophy of the classical economists has been a small gem at the historical past of monetary suggestion, written in a fashion obtainable to scholars, whereas having a lot to educate students. The reissue of this e-book two decades after its unique e-book is a tribute to the long-lasting relevance of the questions raised through the formative interval of economics and to the ability with which the writer analyzes them.

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There was a brief respite immediately after the armistice, when commodity prices fell, but from the spring of 1919 inflation resumed its course during a boom which lasted until the spring or summer of 1920, and was especially strong in the United Kingdom and some of the neutral countries, and in the USA. As can be seen from column 18 C. H. FEINSTEIN, P. TEMIN, AND G. 1 the extent of the inflation in 1920 varied widely, but the experience of rising prices was common to all countries. 1. Consumer Price Indices, European Countries, 1918–1926 (1914 = 100) 1918 (1) 1920 (2) hyperinflation until 1922 or 1923 Austria 1,163 5,115 Germany 304 990 Countries in which inflation continued after 1920 Belgium 1,434 — Finland 633 889 Italy 289 467 France 213 371 Countries in which inflation was controlled after 1920 Norway 253 300 Sweden 219 269 Switzerland 204 224 UK 200 248 Denmark 182 261 Netherlands 162 194 a 1922 (3) 1924 (4) 1926 (5) 263,938 14,602 86a 128a 103 141 340 1,033 467 315 469 1,055 481 395 604 1,078 618 560 231 198 164 181 200 149 239 174 169 176 216 145 206 173 162 171 184 138 Linked to base year via gold price.

In many cases pre-1914 trading patterns, communications, and financial relations were disrupted, and the creation of smaller nation states in the territories of the former Russian and AustroHungarian Empires led to the creation of new currencies, additional trade barriers, and a less efficient allocation of resources. More generally, the imposition of tariffs (whether as a source of urgently needed revenue or as a means of protection), the loss of gold and exchange reserves, and the diminished possibilities for foreign borrowing by countries already overburdened by debts and/or claims for reparations, all helped further to restrict the scope for foreign trade.

1990: 24; Holtfrerich, 1986: 105). After the war further huge sums were required to service these swollen internal public debts, much of it short-term, and to meet the external demands for payment of war debts and reparations. Yet further large outlays were necessary in order to make good the terrible destruction which so many countries had suffered during the savage campaigns, especially in France and Belgium. A large body of literature exists on some aspects of this financial dislocation, especially on reparations, on inter-Allied debts (more generally on Europe becoming a net debtor) and on the new pattern of international lending—what Schuker (1988) calls American reparations to Germany.

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