Rewriting history: France as the cause of the US Great Depression, the Gold Standard turned a recession into a profound and global depression

I am amazed by what I have found today. Indeed, it's always possible to be amazed by how ignorant academics are in the field of finance and economics. Here are two unbelievable book descriptions that I have found on Amazon today.

In case you didn't get it: DO NOT BUY THESE BOOKS. Please, read ahead until the end of the post.

These are two great rewrite and reinterpretation of history. Probably better in the sci-fi section than economics or history.

Gold, France and the Great Depression, 1919-32
H. Clark Johnson develops a narrative of the events that led to the major economic catastrophe of the 20th century. He identifies the undervaluation and consequent shortage of world gold reserves after World War I as the underlying cause of a sustained international price deflation that brought the Great Depression. And, he argues, the reserve-hoarding policies of central banks - particularly the Bank of France - were its proximate cause. The book presents a detailed history of the events that culminated in the depression, highlighting the role of specific economic events, national policies, and individuals. Johnson's analysis of how French domestic politics, diplomacy, economic ideology, and monetary policy contributed to the international deflation is new in the literature. He reaches conclusions about the functioning of the pre-1914 gold standard, the spectacular postwar movement of old to India, the return of sterling to prewar parity in 1925, the German reparations controversy, the stock market crash of 1929, the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930, the central European banking crisis of 1931, and the end of sterling convertibility in 1931. The book also provides a picture of Keynes during the years before his "General theory" and deals at length with the history of economic thought in order to explain the failures of recent scholarship to adequately account for the Great Depression.
The Great Depression in Europe, 1929-1939
This is a comparative study of the origins, course and consequences of the deepest economic crisis in modern European history. Written with the non-economist in mind, the text explores research into the causes of the depression, notably the gold standard system, which helped to turn recession into profound depression and to transmit its effects around the world. The author gives equal weight to the political and historical context of economic policy - political attitudes and expectations, institutional opinions, strategic considerations, the legacies and lessons of history - to explain why European countries chose nationalist routes to recovery. International co-operation offered the best chance for recovery, and the book also contains a lively account of why this failed, and its consequences for international relations in the 1930s.
I have already mentioned it many times, but in case you are new to this blog: to really understand what happened during the Great Depression, what caused it, and why it too so long to get out of it, read America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard.

No comments: