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Daily Archives: October 12, 2020

In Pictures: Food of Kashiwaya Hong Kong (柏屋香港)

Japanese Kaiseki Cuisine

The 2020 Michelin 2-star Restaurant

The Emerging Evidence of Hyperinflation

Alasdair Macleod wrote . . . . . . . . .

Introduction

In last week’s Goldmoney Insight, Lessons on inflation from the past, I described how there were certain characteristics of Germany’s 1914-23 inflation that collapsed the paper mark which are relevant to our current situation. I drew a parallel between John Law’s inflation and his Mississippi bubble in 1715-20 and the Federal Reserve’s policy of inflating the money supply to sustain a bubble in financial assets today. Law’s bubble popped and resulted in the destruction of his currency and the Fed is pursuing the same policies on the grandest of scales. The contemporary inflations of all the major state-issued currencies will similarly risk a collapse in their purchasing powers, and rapidly at that.

The purpose of monetary inflation is always stated by central banks as being to support the economy consistent with maximum employment and a price inflation target of two per cent. The real purpose is to fund government deficits, which are rising partly due to higher future welfare liabilities becoming current and partly due to the political class finding new reasons to spend money. Underlying this profligacy has been unsustainable tax burdens on underperforming economies. And finally, the coup de grace has been administered by the covid-19 shutdowns.

The effect of monetary inflation, even at two per cent increases, is to transfer wealth from savers, salary-earners, pensioners and welfare beneficiaries to the government. In no way, other than perhaps from temporary distortions, does this benefit the people as a whole. It also transfers wealth from savers to borrowers by diminishing the value of capital over time.

Inflation of the money supply is now going into hyperdrive, so those negative effects are going to get much worse. It is time to move from empirical evidence to the situation today, which is the unprecedented increase in the global rate of monetary inflation and specifically that of the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar.

The dollar’s inflation

No doubt, the reluctance to reduce, or at least contain budget deficits is ruled out by the presidential election in November. But whoever wins, it seems unlikely that government spending will be reined in or tax revenue increased. For the universal truth of unbacked state currencies is that so long as they can be issued to cover budget deficits they will be issued. And as an inflated currency ends up buying less, the pace of its issuance all else being equal will accelerate to compensate. It is one of the driving forces behind hyperinflation of the quantity of money.

Since the Lehman crisis in August 2008, the pace of monetary inflation has accelerated above its long-term average, and the effect is illustrated in the above figure.

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