Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Questions with Adam Fergusson, author of WHEN MONEY DIES

What was behind naming the book "When money dies?"
In 1923 when the German mark had depreciated from 4.2 to the dollar to 4,200,000,000,000, that currency was effectively dead.  the title "When Money Dies" is deliberately in the present tense because the lessons which the German hyper-inflation teaches us about safe-guarding the value of our money still apply today.  (The title's initial letters WMD have nothing to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction, devastating as inflation can be!)

What were your thoughts on the endorsement of your book by Warren Buffet?   
A dream come true.  However, although Warren Buffet is known to have this book, his endorsement of it was only by report.
Your book has become a cult classic during the financial crisis, with copies being sold on eBay for up to $1000. How do you feel about the huge response it has gotten?      

The success of its republication after 35 years is both gratifying and humbling.  That the work is now being published in nine languages must be a measure of the world's worries about inflation - but I hope also of people's fascination at an astonishing story of what can go wrong when a government loses control of its finances.

What's the biggest lesson the US economy can learn from your book?
The need rigorously, sometimes courageously, to maintain the value of the dollar and the people's trust in it.  Soft political options are tempting but dangerous.  An economy may urgently need stimulation; but (as we realize in Britain) repudiation of debt through deliberate inflation may prove too high a price to pay for avoiding the consequences of economic profligacy.
What's next for yourself?

I am a writer and historian.  I have a play and a musical comedy on the stocks.  I fear that "When Money Dies" could not easily be adapted for the stage.

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