Finally finished this book. I started it back in the late winter of this year. Its a historic, by the numbers account of the german hyperinflation. Some sections will draw you in, and in some places he goes Rothbard style and murders you with numbers. You'll be stick to your stomach as you read along and see the exchange rate fall off a cliff and never recover. Some factoids that you all might find helpful.
-The heart of the book spans about a 6 year window from 1918 to 1924 when the german mark finally died
-At no point did any of the german political leaders, or the general public for the most part, establish a link between the printing press and the rising prices. 1 man did, Dr. Rathenau. He got pinched in his car like Denzel at the end of the movie "Training Day". Blocked him in the front with another vehicle, "riddled his body with bullets", then he was blown in half when one of the assassins threw a bomb into his car window.
-Stores stopped changing price tags on items and had a multiplier written on a board that they changed multiple times per day
-The author makes no mention of the people having access to bullion to buy or sell. They only had jewelry to hawk for food. Most people speculated in stocks and foreign currencies. Making nominal gains but losing purchasing power almost always.
-Everyone young and old, had to learn how to avoid the govt's brutal taxation or else go hungry.
-People who visited germany from places such as the USA were called the "gold currency people". They could empty out a merchant's entire shop in one visit
-One wealthy lady from Germany was forced to trade a grand piano for a sack of potatoes. She rented a tiny room in her house and charged the man more for 1 month's rent than she paid 10 years ago for the entire house. She also used her dead husband's cigar collections as barter for food for her children.
-In 1924 the mark was able to be exchanged at the banks for the newly issued Reichsmark at a ratio of 1,000,000,000 to 1. (1 Billion to 1)
-Prior to the Reichsmark's issuance, in 1924 the total number of marks in circulation was 690,000,000,000,000,000,000. That's 690 quintillion.
****************Some important quotes from the author in the epilogue: **********************
"what broke the germans was the constant taking of the soft political option when it came to matters of money" <--- Sound Familiar? Look out folks.
"the point of no return therefor, was not a financial one, but a moral one" "germans learned that their traditional repository for wealth had disappeared, and thus the only mechanism for determining the value of an item was its immediate necessity"
"mans values became animal values"
"a prositute in the family was more valuable than a baby, a kilo of potatoes worth more than a grand piano, clothing more essential than democracy, food more needed than freedom"