By Melchior Palyi
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Additional info for A Lesson In French Inflation (1959)
Ever since, the price of a Napoleon has stayed just slightly above 3,600 francs. The French Treasury mints them and throws them on the market in order to keep down the price even when the prices of other gold coins go up. Incidentally, indices of the price level have a life span of approximately 5 to 10 years; after that they become worthless because of changes in the "basket" of goods which enter into the calculation. And it is worth noting that the bourse of Paris flourished most at times when the inflation slowed down.
There was over-full employment at less than $100 a month for a 44-hour week's work, plus cradle-to-grave "security," low rents [ 34 ] and almost no income tax (only 5 per cent, usually paid by the employers on monthly wage incomes of less than $100) but extravagant excises that accounted for 70-odd per cent of total tax revenues. One out of every five families could afford a small car. But relatively few could use them because of a gasoline price 300 per cent of the American price and the average of family incomes barely 25 per cent of that in the United States.
He may not like to be called a technocrat, but from the functional point of view that is the way to define him. A technocrat is no bureaucrat in the conventional sense. He is not subject to the rules which regulate career, pay, work, and promotion in governmental service. He enjoys more "freedom" of action, a higher income (plus much more generous expense allowances) and often also a greater prestige than does his equivalent in officialdom. As a rule, the major nationalized industries are organized as "public corporations," no different in legal form from private ones.