09.05.20 - The Weimar Hyperinflation: Could it Happen Again?
 
 
The August Review has just posted an excellent new article by author Ellen Hodgson Brown (Web of Debt) that gives a different perspective: The Weimar hyperinflation was not caused by the German government, but rather by international banks who created money to lend to traders who promptly sold it short on the international market... both made fortunes while they destroyed Germany's economy.
After reading this article, your conclusions about hyperinflation in the U.S. may have to be adjusted to better line up with the historical evidence.
Comments by Patrick M. Wood, Editor of August Review
"'It was horrible. Horrible! Like lightning it struck. No one was prepared. The shelves in the grocery stores were empty. You could buy nothing with your paper money.' (1933 interview)"
"Some worried commentators are predicting a massive hyperinflation of the sort suffered by Weimar Germany in 1923, when a wheelbarrow full of paper money could barely buy a loaf of bread. An April 29 editorial in the San Francisco Examiner warned:

"'With an unprecedented deficit that’s approaching $2 trillion, [the President’s 2010] budget proposal is a surefire prescription for hyperinflation. So every senator and representative who votes for this monster $3.6 trillion budget will be endorsing a spending spree that could very well turn America into the next Weimar Republic.'"

"'The current policy mix reflects those of Germany during the period between 1919 and 1923. The Weimar government was unwilling to raise taxes to fund post-war reconstruction and war-reparations payments, and so it ran large budget deficits. It kept interest rates far below inflation, expanding money supply rapidly and raising 50% of government spending through seigniorage (printing money and living off the profits from issuing it). . . .
"'The really chilling parallel is that the United States, Britain and Japan have now taken to funding their budget deficits through seigniorage. In the United States, the Fed is buying $300 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds (T-bonds) over a six-month period, a rate of $600 billion per annum, 15% of federal spending of $4 trillion. In Britain, the Bank of England (BOE) is buying 75 billion pounds of gilts [the British equivalent of U.S. Treasury bonds] over three months. That’s 300 billion pounds per annum, 65% of British government spending of 454 billion pounds. Thus, while the United States is approaching Weimar German policy (50% of spending) quite rapidly, Britain has already overtaken it!'

"And that is where the data gets confusing. If Britain is already meeting a larger percentage of its budget deficit by seigniorage than Germany did at the height of its hyperinflation, why is the pound now worth about as much on foreign exchange markets as it was nine years ago, under circumstances said to have driven the mark to a trillionth of its former value in the same period, and most of this in only two years? Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar has actually gotten stronger relative to other currencies since the policy was begun last year of massive “quantitative easing” (today’s euphemism for seigniorage)...."

Read the entire article, The Weimar Hyperinflation: Could it Happen Again?

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