Skip to main content

FT interviews Adam Fergusson: When Money Dies

Financial Times sits down to lunch with Adam Fergusson, author of the newly revived classic, When Money Dies, a social history of the Weimar hyperinflation.

Fergusson's 1975 book has recently been republished to sate demand from a new generation of investors eager to learn the lessons of Germany's inflationary catastrophe. In fact, recent reports that the book had been recommended by none other than superinvestor Warren Buffett (a rumor later reported to be false) seemed to stoke readers' demand.

Author Fergusson notes that Mr. Buffett is now in possession of a copy, so it will be interesting to see if the lessons of Weimar Germany take hold and influence Buffett's thinking on our own inflationary path and the ability of central planners/bankers to manage our monetary affairs.

An excerpt from FT's interview with Adam Fergusson:

"Fergusson wrote
When Money Dies in the early 1970s when the British economy was buckling in the wake of the first oil shock – which killed growth and pushed prices up. “When I started researching it in 1973, inflation was about 10 per cent, and when the book came out in 1975 it was nearly 25 per cent,” he says. “Somebody said, ‘We must go back and look at what happened in the 1920s when prices got out of ­control’.”

It started life as a series of articles in The Times that drew on the Weimar story in order to warn Britain off the inflationary track. But, I interject, weren’t the parallels rather thin? Even at its peak in 1975, British inflation hit an annual rate of only just over 24 per cent. At the climax of the Weimar disaster, prices were doubling every two days.

The quantum was different, Fergusson agrees. But, he says, all periods of high inflation – however harsh – involve the same moral slide. “The corrupting thing about inflation is the way the feelings and jealousies are exactly the same,” he says. “You worry that some people are doing better than you are – people who know what to do about rising prices while you don’t.”

In the Weimar time, this was particularly extreme. High inflation wiped out debts, atomising the savings of the prudent and redistributing wealth to the fortunate or simply unscrupulous..."

Read on at the link above for the full piece, and see our related post links for more on When Money Dies and an audio interview with author Fergusson.

Related articles and posts:

1. When Money Dies: read it online - Prudent Investor.

2. Interview with author Adam Fergusson - BBC.

3. Dying of Money - Finance Trends.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance , I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart. So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like.  Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ $BCOR pic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7 — David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015   For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan , turned to rubble. As detailed in our post, " Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts ", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months.  In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the s

Jesse Livermore: How to Trade in Stocks (1940 Ed. E-book)

If you've been around markets for any length of time, you've probably heard of 20th century supertrader, Jesse Livermore . Today we're highlighting his rare 1940 work, How to Trade in Stocks (ebook, pdf). But first, a brief overview of Livermore's life and trading career (bio from Jesse Livermore's Wikipedia entry). "During his lifetime, Livermore gained and lost several multi-million dollar fortunes. Most notably, he was worth $3 million and $100 million after the 1907 and 1929 market crashes, respectively. He subsequently lost both fortunes. Apart from his success as a securities speculator, Livermore left traders a working philosophy for trading securities that emphasizes increasing the size of one's position as it goes in the right direction and cutting losses quickly. Ironically, Livermore sometimes did not follow his rules strictly. He claimed that lack of adherence to his own rules was the main reason for his losses after making his 1907 and

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL!  Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner .   Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead! As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter . You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter).  Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter .