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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photos: 1922/23 German Hyperinflation

The word 'hyperinflation' is used from time to time by financial and political pundits as a warning of what happens when currency is devalued to the point that it holds no value.  There have been many historic examples of nations suffering as a result and currently this is happening in Zimbabwe.

But rather than write paragraphs on what hyperinflation is and the damage it can do to an economy, pictures tell a better story.  Here are some photos of Germany's hyperinflationary period between 1922-23 as Germans demonstrate ways they put their currency to use since it had no value to buy goods and services.

* In 1922, the highest denomination was the 50,000 Deutsche Mark. By 1923, the highest denomination was 100,000,000,000,000 (trillion) Mark. In December 1923 the exchange rate was 4,200,000,000,000 Marks to 1 US dollar. (One US dollar = 4.2 Trillion Marks)

 ~ children using stacks of money as building blocks

 ~ just enough Marks for a loaf of bread

 ~ a German boy makes a kite out of his nation's currency

 ~ More children using Deutsche Marks as toy blocks
 ~ Wallets weren't very practical; wheelbarrows were

 ~ Captions: 1) "German banknotes being pulped for use as waste paper"; 2) "Banknotes used to light the stove"

 ~ Are those ad flyers on the street?  Nope- bank notes

 ~ Waiting to transport money using large baskets

~ A young German wallpapering his room with money

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