UPDATED - "When Money Dies" by A. Ferguson Can Be Read Online For Free

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German and American Inflations
UPDATED July 2011 -- And suddenly there is a bull market in 2 books on hyper inflation.
After directing readers to 2 free online versions of "Dying of Money"in my last post, I am happy to present a link to Adam Ferguson's "When Money Dies" which at the time of writing has an asking price of 565.53€ at Amazon.
Thanks to a reprint it can now be had for 14.84€ or a Kindle download for 9.71€ as well as in several other formats.
There is still a free option here to read the book online.
The British Independent wrote the following about this rare classic written after the oil shock in the early 1970s:
The book was scarily topical when it was first published in 1975, after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when the oil producing nations had got together as a cartel, quadrupled the price of oil and set off double figure inflation in Western economies.
Fergusson, an Old Etonian journalist and political activist, seized the moment to present a graphic description of what happened the last time a developed economy was hit by hyperinflation. His subject was Germany's Weimar Republic, that turbulent democratic interlude between the fall of the Kaiser and rise of Adolf Hitler – and particularly the early 1920s, when the German mark became worthless.
Fergusson went on to be a political adviser to Sir Geoffrey Howe, the Chancellor on whose watch, in the years 1979-83, inflation was beaten, though at great cost. After that, people stopped thinking about what it might be like to live in a society where money could not buy anything worth having – until the US confidence in its economic system was hit by the seismic shock of the banking crisis of 2008. Then old copies of When Money Dies came down from the shelves, the dust was blown off them and people pored over its descriptions of everyday life in Weimar Germany.
Warren Buffett, that great capitalist sage whose prowess as an investor has made him the world's second richest man, is said to have advised a Dutch financier to read the book as a cautionary tale about what could happen if governments run up such excessive debt. No one seems to know which Dutch financier was the recipient of this advice, or when, but the rumour helped push the potential sale price of secondhand copies of Fergusson above 1,139.6€ This month, a small publisher rushed out a new paperback version.
 I have not been able to pin down the new paperback version, reportedly selling for a Tenner. Any reader's hints in comments are highly welcome.

Price swings for "Dying of Money" have been extreme in the last days. I have seen the book on ebay today at only €102 with 12 bidders so far and the auction running another day. Only yesterday it had an ask of 1,272.44€ at Amazon, which has crashed to 176.73€ at the time of writing.

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