Written during the early 1920s, at a time when Europe was still recovering from the catastrophe of the First World War, L.V. Birck’s The Scourge of Europe examines the economic issues surrounding the existence of public debt, its history, and possible approaches to problems associated with public debt as they were being pursued by the great powers of the time. Birck’s analysis contains a rigorous theoretical exposition and explanation of public debt as it was understood in the crucial period leading up to the Great Depression. This is then followed by an insightful exploration of the role of public debt in European financial and economic history. Finally, some reflections on the policies of England, the United States, France and Germany in the latter part of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries are included.
This book will appeal to economic and financial historians, as well as to those generally interested in European policies towards debt from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Table of Contents
Part I: Description 1. How To Meet A Deficit 2. Basis Of Public Debt 3. The Lender 4. Various Kinds Of Debt 5. Conditions 6. Politico-Economic Conditions 7. Bankruptcy 8. From Debased Coin to Paper-Money; Part II: The Explanation 9. Paper Money And Inflation 10. Back To Gold! 11. Taxation Or Loans? 12. Can The Present Generation Transfer Her Burdens To The Future? 13. Repayment 14. A Capital Levy; Part III: The Facts 15. The Middle Ages 16. The Origin Of An International Loan Market 17. The Era Of Absolutism 18. The Era Of Napoleon 19. The Liberal Régime 20. The World War 21. Unsettled Problems; Appendix: England; The United States; France; The German Empire; Denmark’s National Debt For 300 Years