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Working Paper, No. 2003-31, 2003
Government Equity and Money: John Law’s System in 1720 France
John Law’s System was a radical restructuring of French public finances, carried out from 1716 to 1720. It involved on the one hand a conversion of the existing French public debt into something like government equity, on the other hand the replacement of commodity money with fiat money. For strategic reasons, Law supported the equity at too high a level, resulting in uncontrolled money creation. The System ended with the recreation of a public debt at, surprisingly, the same level as before.


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