The second major crisis to hit the European exchange rate mechanism in a little less than a year -- this time focused mainly on the French franc -- was yet another demonstration of the adage that you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

But you may, as the saying also notes, fool all of the people some of the time. The rate mechanism did hold together for more than five years -- from January 1987 until September 1992 -- as a system of essentially fixed exchange rate relationships.

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