In Golden Fetters, his celebrated study of the collapse of the gold standard in the interwar period, the American economic historian Barry Eichengreen emphasised that important political and social changes, in particular the extension of the franchise, had made it impossible to maintain the system. Electorates were no longer willing to endure austerity if sticking to the gold standard required it.
The prevailing monetary-policy regime was swept away in the new political landscape. Some countries,...
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