A Lesson In French Inflation (1959) by Melchior Palyi

By Melchior Palyi

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Extra resources for A Lesson In French Inflation (1959)

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The consumer paid a price lower than the cost for butter, rice, chocolate, eggs, "common" wine, pure alcohol, milk, and other things; the farmer received his full price, the differ[ 31 ] ence being paid by the taxpayer - or through the use of the printing press. " The gold escalator on the Pinay loan of 1952 provides an example of government manipulation. In addition to being exempt from income and estate taxes, and embellished with a lottery feature, it was to be serviced according to the market price of the 20-franc gold coin, called the "Napoleon," approximately equal to four gold dollars.

The bureaucrats' answer is price control and its twin brother, rationing. They "organize the scarcity," at best, but do not defeat the sellers' markets. In fact, they increase the trouble by discouraging production - unless subsidies make up the difference between the real costs and the fictitious prices. Moreover, the attempt to freeze prices, be it of commodities, services, or foreign moneys, runs afoul of the natural dynamism of an industrial society, generating inHexibility, inefficiency, and escape mechanisms.

Jeanneney, Forces et Faiblesses de l'Economie Frafl{:aise (Strength and Weaknesses of the French Economy), (Colin, Paris, 1956), Chapter I, the underlying cause of the post-World War II increase in the French. birth rate was inflation. Having "destroyed" the savings instinct of the Frenchman, he ceased to calculate the number of children he could afford. In fact, given rent control, free education, free or cheap medical services, food and other subsidies, aDd tax exemptions, a French workman's family with four children could live on the children's allowances provided by the Social Security.

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