• Banking and Finance in Historical Perspective
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38. Jahrgang | Jahr 2012 | Heft 2

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Miszelle: Seite 151–158

Gerhard Müller
"…durch Tausendkünstler schnell vertausendfacht"? Goethe und die Geldpolitik in Deutschland um 1800
Goethe and the Monetary Policy in Germany around 1800 For the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the inflationary monetary policy counted as one of the main evils of the period around 1800. He experienced the consequences of the monetary policy in the Austrian lands during his summer stays in the spa at Carlsbad. When the collapse of Austrian paper money had taken on disastrous proportions in the wake of the lost war against Napoleon, Goethe opted to take a course for action as a commentator on the practice of issuing paper money in the 'Jenaische Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung', which he controlled. For example, he published an in-depth review of the polemical pamphlet by the Swiss economist Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde des Sismondi against paper money, which had appeared in Weimar in late 1810. Alongside the criticism of the increasing issuance of paper money by the governments of the European powers at the time of the coalition wars, another important motivation for Goethe's activities has remained unrecognized up to now: his outrage over a clandestine plan for issuing paper money by Duke Carl August von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach in 1810. Among other things, these plans were aimed to pay the salaries of civil servants, therefore also that of Goethe, in 'cash billets'. Alongside the national bankruptcy of Austria, which transpired just a little while later, the campaign against paper money by Goethe and his comrades-in-arms contributed to the Duke of Weimar ultimately refraining from implementing his plans.
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