Saturday, January 31, 2009

Attali Warns of ‘Worldwide Weimar’ as Governments Print Money

Interview by Farah Nayeri

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Imagine a country so ravaged by inflation that $1 will buy you 630 billion in the local currency, where a loaf of bread costs tens of billions, and where wheelbarrows are the new wallets.

That was the Weimar Republic in November 1923. A similar prospect may now await the world economy, says French economist Jacques Attali in “La Crise, et Apres?” (“The Crisis, and Then?”), a stinging new critique of the financial meltdown.

Attali, 65, served as a special adviser to French President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s and later became the first head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He went on to found microfinance agency PlaNet Finance. In 2007, he steered a panel on economic growth that made recommendations to Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president.

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