For decades citizenry has been fooled to participate in a paper scam (government fiat). It’s a ticking time bomb before the majority realizes that their currency that they expend all their energy for is a horrible store of value.
We have seen plenty of examples in the recent past where a countries currency experiences a death spiral which eventually leads to hyperinflation where the velocity of the currency in circulation explodes. Where paper notes turn into a hot potato and the only thing people want to do is get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Regardless if you are a fan of economics, business or anything to do with finance you eventually realize once your country is on this path whether it’s by starting your ovens by stuffing it with paper notes or using it as wallpaper.
In the 20th century alone, there were 25 episodes of hyperinflation. The most treacherous episode of all is Weimar Republic (1923) when World War I bankrupted the government. However, the printing press initially saved the country.
A constant theme which is relevant to this day of warfare and welfare leading to the government over-indebtedness, which leads to the state avoiding bankruptcy by remaining nominally solvent and expropriating its creditors in real terms.
Inflationary policies helped continue the World Wars as if it weren’t for inflation they would’ve ended a lot sooner due to a lack of funding.
So there is a certain argument that inflationary policies are anti-peace due to its abundance, prolonged ability to carry on war and it’s capabilities of eviscerating savings (Hyperinflation) which will be saved for another post.
Today, some of the most recent examples of hyperinflation are Zimbabwe and the ongoing situation in Venezuela.
Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate in September 2008 was 471 billion percent which later peaked in November at 89.7 sextillion percent. Zimbabwe set the record for the second-highest hyperinflation in history.
During this time a $100 trillion dollar note was made ready for circulation, but no merchants in their right mind would accept local bank notes. By January 2009, Zimbabwe’s primary currency shifted to the American dollar which is still being used today.
Today in Venezuela, we are witnessing an absolute collapse before our eyes. Anti-government protests are well underway as the Venezuelan socialist regime scrambles in desperation. Currently, inflation is at 700% with the possibility of reaching 2000% by 2018 according to the IMF. This has led to severe food and medicine shortages.
In response to rapid inflation, Venezuelans have resorted to buying and selling Pepe-themed, bitcoin-linked trading cards as a way to escape their decaying fiat currency controlled by the socialist government.
So next time you hear that someone’s a millionaire, make sure you ask them what denomination their wealth is in, as paper currencies naturally float against each other at a volatile rate.
Don’t forget, “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero.” (Voltaire, 1694-1778)
More on this to come.