by Simon Black
According to Jacques Necker, everything was just fine.
The year was 1781, and Necker, France’s finance minister, had just published a report called Compte Rendu au Roi, an accounting of French public finances.
Necker’s report showed that, despite extraordinary public services and military spending, France had a net credit position of +10 million livres.
In other words, the country was in perfect fiscal health.
It turns out that Necker had cooked the books.