The French Crime of 1873: An Essay in Interpretation

Marc Flandreau

in The Glitter of Gold

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199257867
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601279 | DOI:
 The French Crime of 1873: An Essay in Interpretation

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Chapter 8 analyses the end of bimetallism. It shows that the conventional view of an inescapable collapse is not founded. France, endowed with a large share of the gold output of the 1850s and 1860s, had enough gold to weather the modestly rising silver output of the 1870s and 1880s. It had also enough gold to resist to Germany's decision to adopt a gold standard in the early 1870s. Failure of international cooperation, it is argued, is what caused the emergence of the gold standard.

Keywords: Suspension of silver coinage; Latin Union; International Bimetallism; Conference of 1867; Franco-Prussian War; War Indemnity; France's “expecting” policy; Strategic externalities; Switching costs

Chapter.  15963 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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