The Monetary Conservative: Jacques Rueff and Twentieth-century Free Market Thought

Overview

One of the 20th century’s most prescient critics of the role of the U.S. dollar in the global economy, Jacques Rueff (1896-1978) was also one of Europe’s foremost free market thinkers, a proponent of the gold standard, and a major expert on the perils of inflation. In Rueff’s day, moderate conservatism was linked with liberal political economy, and Rueff considered himself a “liberal” in the sense that he believed in the free market. This first major English-language work on Rueff explains his economic philosophy...

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Overview

One of the 20th century’s most prescient critics of the role of the U.S. dollar in the global economy, Jacques Rueff (1896-1978) was also one of Europe’s foremost free market thinkers, a proponent of the gold standard, and a major expert on the perils of inflation. In Rueff’s day, moderate conservatism was linked with liberal political economy, and Rueff considered himself a “liberal” in the sense that he believed in the free market. This first major English-language work on Rueff explains his economic philosophy and its significance for the present, placing it in the context of the Great Depression and Europe’s post-World War II recovery.
Chivvis presents a new angle on the history of free market ideas and their alternatives, illuminating a conservative strain of free market thought hitherto much ignored. Rueff’s thought remains highly relevant in the current economic climate, and The Monetary Conservative will be of broad interest to policymakers and educated lay readers. It is also essential reading for economists, political economists, and historians of neoliberalism, France, and modern European politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A deeply thoughtful, nuanced, and erudite analysis of one of the 20th century’s most profound and principled monetary thinkers. With the renewed global angst over the sustainability of the dollar-based international monetary system, Chivvis’s masterful study of Jacques Rueff could not be more timely.”—Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of Money, Markets, and Sovereignty

“Mr. Chivvis has written an interesting and clear account of the major elements in the thought of the French economist and civil servant Jacques Rueff.”—Harold James, Princeton University

“An interesting, highly readable account of the career of one of Europe’s most important economists. Chivvis lifts the smokescreen of simplicity which has served to obscure the economist’s true contribution to twentieth century economic thought and practice. This is the clearest history (in my view) of twentieth century French monetary policy. Nothing else compares.”—Timothy Smith, Queen’s University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875804170
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher S. Chivvis is a political scientist with the RAND Corporation and teaches International History at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Abbreviations

Introduction---Jacques Rueff and Twentieth-century Free Market Thought 3

PART ONE

1 The Engineer Economist 17

2 The Failure of Postwar Reconstruction 37

3 Rueff and French Economic Strategy during the Depression 67

4 The Crisis of Liberalism and the Future of Liberal Capitalism in the 1930s 87

5 L'Ordre Social and the War 101

PART TWO

The Monetary Conservative in the Keynesian Era

6 Reconstruction and Inflation 115

7 Keynes, the Postwar "Age of Inflation," and European Integration 132

8 De Gaulle, the 1958 Reform, and the Franc Nouveau 149

9 De Gaulle, Gold, and the Dollar 159

Conclusion---Rueff and Monetary Conservatism in Twentieth-century Perspective 178

Notes 191

Bibliography 217

Index 231

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