FRANCE: Down Goes the Franc

The Abbot of Bazinham once computed that in the first thousand years after Charlemagne, French currency was devalued 40 times. In the 19th century, the gold franc was such a rock that the currencies of half Europe were pegged to it. Lately, though officially pegged since 1949 at 350 to the dollar, the franc has fallen almost as often as French governments. Last week at long last the French government took notice of the franc's real worth and, without using the horrid word devaluation, in fact devalued it.

The man who brought it off was the brilliant young (37)...

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