The Euro Crisis’s Debts to the Past

by John O'Sullivan

Here’s an item to add to Andrew Stuttaford’s list of Awful Warnings on the European Financial Crisis. It comes from Stephen Leacock’s French Politics for Beginners of 1926:

The aim of the new French government will be to put the finances of France on a basis of absolute stability. To do this they will at once borrow 4,000,000,000 Francs. The loan, however, will be offset and made good by a credit with the Bank of France, which will then float a loan with the public, who will then be authorized, by a decree, to borrow from the bank. The entire credit thus created will be added up and declared extinguished. The announcement of the budget policy was received with a salvo of enthusiasm, the entire left embracing the whole of the right.

Yes, it’s satire, but only just.

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