Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Rist, Quesnay, and Mizakis: Different French ways to stabilize the peseta 1929-1931

Torre Dominique, Université Côte d'Azur - GREDEG - CNRS

After French franc resumed to convertibility in 1928, the development of speculation against Spanish peseta developed and decided Calvo Sotelo, then minister of Finance under Primo de Rivera dictatorship, to plan a stabilization of the peseta. The reputation of the French "money doctors" and their new positions in the international financial institutions made them involved in the new project, even under the following Damaso Berenguer administration. First, Charles Rist, the former Deputy Governor of Banque de France and professor at La Sorbonne was in charge of a report on the monetary and financial situation in Spain, which concluded on the necessity to stabilize and provided suggestions on the ways to stabilize. This report was published in its French version but was not applied nor followed by many discussion in Spain. Then, Julio Wais, minister of Finance of Berenger Government asked for the new BIS, with Pierre Quesnay as director. Pierre Quesnay was the former student of Charles Rist but also the main Banque de France internal adviser during the franc Poincaré reform. Quesnay also wrote a report, and motivated a mission of Banque de France near Bank of Spain, then conducted by Michel Mitzakis. \The objective of the paper is to compare the advices and propositions of Rist and Quesnay and the own Mitzakis analysis during his stay in Madrid. The main motivation of this study is that Rist and Quesnay agreed for the most in the French case but also had contrasted views on the relevance of the way central banks could / must control the money market. Is there any sign of this debate in their respective plans and in which ways Mitzakis chose to arbitrate among the "old" Rist orthodox position and the "new" Quesnay Open Market discretionary attitude. How Mitzakis will arbitrate among the two positions and for which good or bad reasons?


Keywords: Monetary policy, nominal stabilisation, gold exchange standard

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