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Johannes Wiegand on Bimetallism and Monetary Stability

March 1, 2023

Johannes Wiegand says had France maintained bimetallism, the period of deflation and monetary instability in the late 1800s would not have taken place.

While the currency values of today’s economic powerhouses help maintain global financial stability, the currency systems in the 19th century were tied to precious metals and France played the stabilizing role. In the early 1800s, most countries tied their currencies to silver or gold, but Napoleon tied the French franc to both, which sparked the era of global bimetallism. IMF economist Johannes Wiegand has studied bimetallism, and in this podcast, he says this almost-forgotten 19th-century episode shows that international cooperation is essential for a stable global monetary system. Transcript

Read the article in Finance & Development

Johannes Wiegand is an advisor in the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department.