Tuesday, December 09, 2003



"But these statistical figures do not tell the human impact of such a catastrophic collapse of a country's monetary system. In his book, Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s (1972), Otto Friedrich writes that 'By the middle of 1923, the whole of Germany had become delirious. Whoever had a job got paid every day, usually at noon, and then ran to the nearest store, with a sack full of banknotes, to buy anything that he could get, at any price. In their frenzy, people paid millions and even billions of marks for cuckoo clocks, shoes that didn't fit, anything that could be traded for anything else.' The price of a cup of coffee would double in the time that a customer took to drink it in a cafe.

Food supplies became both an obsession and a currency. The breakdown of the medium of exchange meant that the rural farmers became increasingly reluctant to sell their agricultural goods for worthless paper money in the cities. Urban dwellers streamed back to the countryside to live with relatives in order to have something to eat. Anything and everything was offered and traded directly for food to stave off the pangs of hunger."

From The Great German Inflation by Richard M. Ebeling

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