First major English work on the proponent of the gold standard provides a view of the global economy that resonates with current thought. One of the 20th century's most prescient critics of the role of the U.S. dollar in the global economy, Jacques Rueff (1896-1978) was also one of Europe's foremost free market thinkers, a proponent of the gold standard, and a major expert on the perils of inflation. In Rueff's day, moderate conservatism was linked with liberal political economy, and Rueff considered himself a 'liberal' in the sense that he believed in the free market. This first major English-language work on Rueff explains his economic philosophy and its significance for the present, placing it in the context of the Great Depression and Europe's post-World War II recovery. Chivvis presents a new angle on the history of free market ideas and their alternatives, illuminating a conservative strain of free market thought hitherto much ignored. Rueff's thought remains highly relevant in the current economic climate, and "The Monetary Conservative" will be of broad interest to policymakers and educated lay readers.
It is also essential reading for economists, political economists, and historians of neoliberalism, France, and modern European politics.
CHRISTOPHER S. CHIVVIS is a political scientist with the RAND Corporation and teaches International History at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.