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In the economic history of the German Republic, three consecutive phases can be discerned - inflation, concentration, rationalisation.

    The big war-profiteers like Stinnes, Thyssen, Otto Wolff, [26] et hoc genus omne, [27] who had known how to distil minted gold out of millions of corpses, now transformed themselves into revolution and inflation profiteers, or were overtaken by newcomers.

If the war had meant for these a source of new capital, the revolution and its child the Weimar Republic had provided new chances. It is true that the Republic at the outset aimed at getting rid of large fortunes, but its good intentions proved, especially in its economic policy, to be again the stones paving the way to Hell. In its unparalleled self-denial, this `social state' actually bred types like Stinnes and Flick, [28] who hated the Republic and used this hatred as a moral justification for tax-defaulting, robbery of the state, and financing counter-revolutionary plots. Yet the state continued to feed them with credits which they used to further inflation, and which they `repaid' in valueless paper marks.

This time of whirlwind-raging proletarianisation of the middle class, which diverted huge slices of the property of the people into the gaping jaws of industrial sharks, gave birth to that type of capitalist which indiscriminately bought up concerns and enterprises of all descriptions - the type which in the minds of their contemporaries is indissolubly bound up with the name of Stinnes. Stinnes was not the creator of mighty concerns systematically built up and internally connected. At random he bought anything: steel-works, newspapers, hotels, ships, coalmines, textile mills, foodstuffs - and politicians. Though these blown-up trusts and concerns soon burst like soap bubbles, many ruined small and medium businessmen strewed the path, and these, together with the unemployed officers and the impoverished intellectuals, formed the shock battalions of the coming counter-revolution.

When again - at the expense of the working class - the mark was stabilised, the inflation profiteers gave way to deflation profiteers; or became such. A period of comparatively coherent concentration followed, combining industrial enterprises of a definite interconnection into powerful trusts: the epoch of monopoly capitalism dawned.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 21st, 2023 at 08:56:53 AM EST

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