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447 Adam Fergusson: When Money Dies

 “When Money Dies” provides a gripping account of the devastating hyperinflation that plagued Weimar Germany in the 1920s.



"When Money Dies" vividly portrays the catastrophic consequences of hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, where the collapse of the currency led to economic turmoil, social upheaval, and the erosion of wealth. The book serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of uncontrolled money printing and the importance of sound monetary policies.


  1. Title: "When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyperinflation" 
  2. Author: Adam Fergusson 
  3. Publishing Year: 1975 
  4. Publisher: PublicAffairs 
  5. Length in hours: 9 hours

5 main ideas

  1. The book chronicles the events leading up to the hyperinflationary period in Weimar Germany, examining the political, economic, and social factors that contributed to the crisis.
  2. It delves into the devastating effects of hyperinflation on the German population, including skyrocketing prices, widespread poverty, and the destruction of savings and investments.
  3. The book highlights the role of the German government and central bank in exacerbating the hyperinflation through excessive money printing and misguided policies.
  4. It explores the societal impact of hyperinflation, including the rise of bartering, the erosion of trust in institutions, and the political unrest that followed.
  5. The book draws lessons from the Weimar hyperinflation, emphasizing the importance of sound monetary management, fiscal responsibility, and the dangers of unchecked inflationary policies.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Reading 'When Money Dies' is like taking a roller coaster ride through the wildest economic carnival you can imagine!"
  2. "Did you know? In the midst of hyperinflation, children used to play with stacks of banknotes as if they were building blocks."
  3. "Warning: This book may cause a sudden urge to hoard gold, bury cash in the backyard, or consider alternative careers as a wheelbarrow manufacturer."
  4. "Discovering the Weimar hyperinflation is like stumbling upon a bizarre chapter of history where money became less valuable than toilet paper."
  5. "Caution: Reading 'When Money Dies' may result in random outbursts of 'Look, Mom! I'm a billionaire!' while holding a stack of monopoly money."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Weimar Germany's hyperinflation stands as a stark reminder of the dire consequences of unchecked monetary debasement and the erosion of trust in a currency."
  2. "In the midst of hyperinflation, money became nothing more than confetti, a worthless representation of a broken financial system."
  3. "The Weimar hyperinflation turned the German middle class into beggars, wiping out their savings and shattering their dreams of a secure future."
  4. "The story of Weimar Germany serves as a chilling reminder that the road to hyperinflation is paved with good intentions and misguided economic policies."
  5. "When a nation's currency becomes nothing more than kindling for stoves, its economy and society teeter on the edge of collapse."

5 dilemmas

  1. The dilemma of monetary policy: examining the challenges faced by central banks in balancing the need for price stability and the risks of excessive money creation.
  2. The dilemma of public trust: exploring how hyperinflation erodes trust in financial institutions, governments, and the very concept of money itself.
  3. The dilemma of economic stability versus social equality: analyzing the trade-offs between combating inflation and mitigating the social impact on vulnerable segments of society during times of hyperinflation.
  4. The dilemma of political leadership: examining the challenges faced by political leaders in managing economic crises and implementing effective policy responses.
  5. The dilemma of historical lessons: discussing the difficulties of learning from past hyperinflationary episodes and applying those lessons to prevent similar catastrophes in the future.

5 examples

  1. The book discusses the role of German central bankers, such as Rudolf Havenstein, in attempting to manage the hyperinflation crisis.
  2. It references political figures like Gustav Stresemann and his attempts to stabilize the German economy amidst the hyperinflationary chaos.
  3. The book explores the impact of hyperinflation on German businesses, including examples of bankruptcies and economic disarray.
  4. It mentions the German Reichsbank and its futile attempts to restore confidence in the collapsing currency.
  5. The book references international entities, such as the League of Nations, and their efforts to address the economic crisis in Weimar Germany.

Referenced books

Other books quoted or referenced in this book:

  1. "The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking" by J. D. Foster
  2. "The Economics of Inflation: A Study of Currency Depreciation in Post-War Germany, 1914-1923" by Constantino Bresciani-Turroni

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"Caution: Reading 'When Money Dies' may result in random outbursts of 'Look, Mom! I'm a billionaire!' while holding a stack of monopoly money."

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