A Lesson In French Inflation (1959) by Melchior Palyi

By Melchior Palyi

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Altogether, tax "defrauding" by business was estimated in the mid-1950's at 22 per cent of the tax liability in manufacturing, 25 per cent in commerce. And the political influence of business, again big and small, was strong enough to permit far-reaching cartelization and to guarantee monopoly profits by high tariffs and sharp import restrictions. Coming back to the escalators: as a widespread system of indexed obligations, it is a self-defeating device. Inflation, unaccompanied by escalator adjustments, "pays" in high degree to the debtor, public and private, as long as the creditor can be robbed and provided the debtor himself does not get into trouble.

The chief cause of the trouble, though by no means its sole cause, was the national budget - the irrepressible flood of "social" subsidies and "economic interventions" (another name for subsidies), begetting deficits and inflation. After the liberation in 1944, the Fourth Republic's money supply rose by 540 million francs on a daily average - an amount larger than the total forced upon the country during four years of German occupation. 2 billion. This may not be dramatic by American standards; but in tenns of the respective per capita national incomes it was equivalent to $14 billion, or more.

Fixed price since September, 1939: 1939--September 13 _________________________________ 1945-January 1 _____________________________________ 1945-December 26 __________________________________ 1948-January 26 ______ , _____________________________ 195O-August 15 ____________________________________ 1957-August 11 ____________________________________ 1958-December 29 __________________________________ 46,394 francs 47,608 francs 53,600 francs 131,900 francs 237,500 francs 393,000 francs 473,000 francs 555,555 francs [61 ] Selected Literature Berl, Emmanuel, La France Irreelle (The Unreal France), (Grasset, Paris, 1957).

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