Season of mists


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“The years of war saw the mark
lose three quarters of its purchasing power. The years of peace saw the process
speed up, as the borrowing continued, and at first it had its friends. ‘I am
not afraid of inflation,’ said Walter Rathenau, tycoon and minister, later
murdered by two proto-Nazis. ‘People are wrong when they say that printing
money is bringing us to ruin. We ought to print money a bit faster, and start
construction works.’ He has his followers today.”

 

      
Christopher Fildes, reviewing ‘The downfall of
money: Germany’s hyperinflation and the destruction of the middle class’ by
Frederick Taylor in ‘The Spectator’, 7th September.


 

 

Autumn naturally lends itself
to a mixture of retrospection and introspection. The bright and sunny
certainties of summer are replaced by the cloudier anticipations of the winter
to come. As the crops are gathered in, the days darken, and chill. And as
animal spirits start to wane with the weakening sun, problems that swelled up
during the heat of summer start finally to decay and reveal themselves. It is
not typically in the Halloween month of October (the 1987 Crash was only a
blip, after all) but during the mistier days of September when the market’s
shadowy errors start to walk abroad.

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