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The industrial world is currently experiencing a phase of disinflation which is still anything but over. The phenomenon is the result of a process formed by a complex chain of "disinflationary" mechanisms, and it is by no means impossible that it will eventually lead to the enduring reappearance of negative price trends. In the long term, disinflation does not necessarily impede growth, as events in the course of the nineteenth century demonstrated. However, disinflation does aggravate the risk of "depressive" drifts and lengthy depressions in the countries in which structural rigidities are greatest. Moreover, in the present situation, conjunctural monetary or budget policies are substantially incapable of relaunching economic activity, so the only possible action is to reintroduce maximum flexibility. The author illustrates his thesis with special reference to the French case.