Gold, France, and the Great Depression, 1919-1932

Johnson, H. Clark
Date published: 
January 1997

H. Clark Johnson develops a convincing and original narrative of the events that led to the major economic catastrophe of the twentieth 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 incidents, national decisions 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.