Officially, America has near zero inflation and a mere ten percent official unemployment.  Odd that it has a mere ten percent unemployment when the proportion of young adult males with jobs has dropped a lot more than ten percent.

As with third world and Marxist countries, the government’s reaction to bad news is to declare a new era of prosperity.  The recession is officially over.  With an unprecedented proportion of the workforce on the government payroll, productivity has officially risen to amazing heights and somehow, despite the big increase in the proportion of people on the government payroll, public spending has officially not risen much.

Unofficial inflation, however, is starting to look quite frightening:

Market Ticker tells us:

I just got back from the grocery store.  Eggs, which were $1.60 two weeks ago, are now $1.99/dz.  Butter?  Two boxes for $6 – on sale.  The same two boxes were $4.50 a couple months ago.  Land-O-Lakes Brand?  $4.89 – each.
Cheese?  8oz bricks were commonly 3/$5 as recently as September.  Now?  $3.50 – for one.
But there’s no inflation, you see.
Oh, and on the way home I passed the gas station.  It was $2.59 for regular a couple of weeks ago.  Now?  $2.89.  30 cents in about 2 weeks, a 12% increase.

This is consistent with inflation rates of thirty to fifty percent per year, early hyperinflation rates.

Sarah Palin is, as usual, on the ball, while ruling class is floating away in La La Land, sincerely puzzled that the peasants are failing to eat cake.

This is the decisive test of Keynesianism.  Of course, we already had a decisive test of Keynesianism:  The Japanese crisis.  Keynesianism failed dismally, to which the Keynesians replied that Japan’s troubles were the result of not applying Keynesianism vigorously enough.    This time, however, it has been applied vigorously enough.  The results should be apparent by around 2012-2016.  The fat lady has not yet sung, but so far, things are not looking good for Keynesianism.

Money is a matter of functions four,
a medium, a measure, a standard, a store.

There is a conflict between the use of money as a store and the use of money as a standard, since if everyone wants to store value at the same time, the value of money is apt to rise, and if everyone wants to use their store at the same time, the value is apt to fall.  Keynesianism therefore addresses a real problem, but its proposed solution tells the ruling class what they want to hear – that they can buy votes with money they do not have, that they can eat their cake and have it to, which is of course not true, and not a solution to the problem.  Keynesianism addresses a real problem, but is not a real solution.

It seems to me that a sounder solution would be to target the long run value of money.  If people had confidence that in the long run, the value of money would be constant, that inflation would run for a few years to be followed by deflation, and deflation would run for a few years to followed by inflation, that what goes up must come down, then I doubt that natural fluctuations would be large or damaging.   Fluctuations are large and damaging because there is no telling what the future value of money is likely to be, because Keynesianism makes money dangerously ineffectual as either a standard or as a store.  This large uncertainty destabilizes the economy.  The objective of monetary policy should be to give people confidence that the value of money will be the same in twenty or thirty years, even if it fluctuates a bit from year to year.

Of course, I am prescribing what an honest issuer of fiat money should do, if he cares about the long term, and wants everyone to continue using the fiat money he issues.  Since issuers of fiat money sooner or later find themselves in a situation where the major question is whether the political leadership will survive another week, such advice is unlikely to be heeded.  Keynesianism will continue to be believed, not because it is true, but because issuers of fiat money are compelled to act as if it was true.

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2 Responses to “Hyperinflation”

  1. Wanker says:

    If America is on the road to ruinous inflation, then please explain the recent history of Japan. Like America, Japan had a banking crisis. Like America, Japan borrowed and spent massively to paper over the problem. The people who made the bad choices largely kept their jobs. But the result was 20 years of low inflation punctuated by bouts of deflation. Why will America be any different? The bond market seems to be saying that inflation will be below 3% for the next 10 years — saying that America will continue to go the way of Japan.

    • jim says:

      The bond market seems to be saying that inflation will be below 3% for the next 10 years — saying that America will continue to go the way of Japan.

      And the gold market is saying the $#%& will hit the fan. Of course, is not be the first time the gold market has said that.

      We have a bubble in government paper, and as with any other bubble, no one can say when it is going to pop. Obviously Europe will go before the US does, and Europe has not gone yet.

      But trees do not grow to the sky, and the longer the bubble goes before it bursts, the worse the burst is going to be.

      I cannot say when the time will come to rush to the exits – but I can say that there will be a time, and when you see the rush beginning, join it.

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