This Series is extracts, edits and comments on the Essay – Dying of Money – by Jens Parsson.
This is a Really long Essay, so I have redacted and edited it, and broken it into chapters to make it a bit more easy to follow. But it is still going to take some digesting. (Or if you are feeling particularly masochistic, you can read the whole thing by following the link to the Mises Institute)
In any case, I have interspersed Jens’ Text with my own comments, highlighting the parallels between Then and Now. It is scary just how prescient history can be, and how it relates to our current economic situation. If you are feeling disturbed and confused by what we facing, then read on – and be very afraid.
On a personal note: my thanks to Jens and the Mises Institute for making this information available on the Net.
Ludwig von Mises Institute – Tu Ne Cede Malis
Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School.
Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German and American Inflations
by Jens O. Parsson
Hopefully my efforts here can make for a wider disemination and awareness of this information, the issues and dangers: For those who forget history, are doomed to repeat it.
Unfortunately, some who do remember are just as likely to try and game the same sorry old tricks to their own advantage – and our detriment.
And now: enough blurb from me, on with the show. Part One: Foreword.
~ Jens O. Parsson [edited ~R]
Most of us have at least a general idea of what we think inflation is. Inflation is the state of affairs in which prices go up.
Inflation is an old, old story. Inflation is almost as ancient as money is, and money is almost as ancient as man himself. Inflation was the very next magic after money. Inflation is a disease of money. Before money, there could be no inflation. After money, there could be.
Thus inflation may be the oldest form of government finance, and governments have been perpetually rediscovering first the splendors and later the woes of inflation. Each new government discoverer of the splendors seems to believe that no one has ever beheld such splendors before. Each new discoverer of the woes professes not to understand any connection with the earlier splendors. In the thousands of years of the history of inflation, there has been nothing really new, and there is still not.
Emperor Diocletian became the author of one of the earliest recorded systems of price controls in an effort to remedy the woes without losing the joys of inflation, and he also became one of the earliest and most distinguished failures at that effort. Like every later effort to have the joys without the woes of inflation Diocletian failed totally.
So it has gone throughout the millennia of man’s development. For at least four thousand years man has known inflation. Babylon and Ancient. The Athenians. The Roman Empire. Henry the Eighth of England was a proficient inflationist, as were the kings of France. The entire world underwent a severe inflation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a result of the Spanish discoveries of huge quantities of gold in the New World. “Continentals” in the American Revolution and the assignats in the French Revolution were precursors of the wild paper inflations of the twentieth century. Steadily rising prices have been the general rule and not the exception throughout man’s history.
The twentieth century brought the institution of inflation to its ultimate perfection. When economic systems are so highly organized as they became in the twentieth century, so that people are completely dependent on money trading for the necessaries of life, there is no place to take shelter from inflation.
Inflations in the twentieth century became like inflations in No other century. One of these was the German inflation that contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II.
The other was the great American inflation that had its roots in World War II,
Inflation’s may be fast or slow, accelerating or decelerating, chronic or transitory. A merely annoying inflation, usually causes no one very much real harm. A volcanic inflation on the other hand, is the kind of catastrophe that confiscates wealth, withholds the means of life, breeds revolutions, and precipitates wars. Every volcanic inflation of history began as a mildly annoying inflation.
Scarcely a person is untouched by inflation’s handiwork. Every citizen, dancing to a tune he mostly can not hear, played for him by the government’s inflation. It’s up to every citizen to learn for himself what’s happening and to look out for himself, because no one else is. The government certainly is not.
The government is compelled by its other duties, not to protect him but the opposite, to continue to steal from him by inflation for as long as it can.
Part Two: Prologue – to follow