The paper starts out from an empirical observation: in two “central” countries — respectively the UK in the 19th century and the U.S.A. in the 20th century — long phases of disinflation — prompted by a tightening in their monetary policy in a context far from full employment — were accompanied by a relative overall stability in the output of the “core” and by an increasing frequency and intensity of financial crises in the “periphery”. The aim of the paper is twofold: to offer a framework for the analysis of disinflation in the industrialised countries during the two disinflation phases mentioned above, and to draw attention to important redistributive effects of disinflation. We argue in fact that the observed relative output stability of “central” countries is but the other side of the increased instability of “peripheral” countries. We suggest that Sraffa’s framework — extended to take into account relationships that stay outside the “core” of the theory — can provide the basis for an analysis of a relationship between rate of interest and prices which is based not on Wicksellian lines but on the influences of the interest rate on production costs in an open economy. Changes in the rate of interest in the “central” countries affect their normal costs of production in a variety of ways, but in particular through their effects on the prices of imported raw materials and industrial inputs. The terms of trade improvement in the “core” in turn opens the way to a series of debt deflation–induced real and financial crisis in the “periphery”. By underlining the link between macroeconomic policies in “central” countries, falling commodity prices and debt cycles, our analysis emphasises the serious drawbacks which may derive in the long–run even to central countries from apparently successful anti–inflationary policies.