Saturday, August 11, 2012

Franconomics with Jonah Goldberg and Professor Ken Alder

I recall seeing this on C-SPAN in 2002, on the original air date I believe. In it, Professor Alder gives insight into the bizarre ways of French price structure, weights and measures just before their creation of the Metric System.  See the whole presentation of The Measure of All Things on C-SPAN.

During Jonah Goldberg's recent book promotion tour for his latest, The Tyranny of Cliches, he has spoken frequently of the misquotation of Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake."  His description of the true story, at least what is left of it now, reminded me of Prof. Alder's book and presentation from ten years ago.  In the century before Marie Antoinette, the French had laws that required bakers to sell expensive bread (egg based brioche, for example) at the same price as lower priced breads if they ran out of the less expensive varieties.

Fast forward to the French Revolution and a slightly different, but equally bad pricing system existed: 'Fair' or 'Just Price.'
About 10 min. 11 sec.

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