Wednesday 4 December 2013

Lessons In Hyperinflation

An interesting, not too long, article on the LSE web site by Michael Moran on 2nd December, "The banking crisis as an elite debacle, again" describes an explanation of our recent financial troubles. It goes on to explain the causes of what occurred.  He says that in plain English the politicians at the Treasury did not have the foggiest idea of what was going on.

Essentially, it is about how a ruling coterie, or class, can pursue money growth without much regard for past experience or the potential consequences of their actions.  In a sense it does not tell us a lot we do not know.  It just confirms our prejudices, one of which is not to trust politicians with money.

In parallel with this is another item.  This deals with how to cause a hyperinflation in one lesson.  This is easy money and how it can and carries the serious risk of getting out of hand.  A particular issue is that by the time the ruling group accepts that there are problems it is then too late, like waiting for the skin to turn red before you realise the risk of sunburn.

After 1789, the Revolution and the elimination of the monarchy and aristocracy, France faced financial issues arising from all the disruption and uncertainty.  The government chose to issue fiat money and it all went very badly, ending in dictatorship and The Empire.

The story is told in the road to hyperinflation and has lessons for other events of this kind in history and the risks inherent in today's attempts to manage economies by money flows.  The article in The Mises Institute is a little long but tells the story plainly.
Two apparently different articles but with a common thread. As we await the UK's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor, we might ask just how far is he or the Prime Minister aware that the preconditions are in place for a significant inflationary surge which could worsen steadily or rapidly if they cannot control it.

This has been said before but bears repeating. In 1904 GK Chesterton wrote a book set in 1984 titled The Napoleon Of Notting Hill and who does it remind you of?

1 comment:

  1. I don't think the ruling class are too bothered about a spot of inflation.