The Neverending Debt

Via Brad DeLong, a fascinating paper (PDF) by François Velde:

The French government currently honors a very unusual debt contract: an annuity that was issued in 1738 and currently yields 1.20 Euros per year. I tell the story of this unique debt, which serves as an anecdotal but symbolic summary of French public finances since the 18th century.

Turns out to have been a very bad contract the government signed back in 1738.