Inflation Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Inflation Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Inflation Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Inflation Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Excerpt

This book is directed toward that elusive animal often referred to as "the intelligent layman." Therefore, it presupposes no prior knowledge of the dismal science known as economics. Accordingly, I have eschewed the use of equations and graphs as explanatory tools (with a few minor exceptions). There are several tables, charts, and numbers, since economics does deal with quantities and their interrelationships. But I have tried to present in literary and understandable form what economists in general know about inflation--its causes, consequences, and cures.

Inflation is obviously of great concern not only in the United States but throughout the world. It has often been dubbed "public enemy number one" by presidents, prime ministers, and other heads of state. Yet in the late 1960s, the 1970s, and the early 1980s, a reasonable resolution of the malady has not been achieved. Various approaches ranging from outright price controls to tight money, balanced budgets, and deliberate creation of recessions have been tried without success. The public is understandably confused. I hope the present volume contributes to a better comprehension of this phenomenon, why it is so difficult to contain, and the trade-offs involved in making such attempts.

I have been advised by various readers of the manuscript that, while it does not grip like Phillip Roth or 007, it can be read. Some have even said they learned something from it. No greater compliment could be paid to one who "professes" to know something about this subject.

This is not a textbook, although some courses in economics may find it a useful supplement. My aim throughout has been to be understood by concerned and reasonably intelligent laymen (and women). We need all the help we can get in this troubled and uncertain world. I hope this volume helps.

I wish to thank Bradford Richardson for helping with the materials on Brazilian and German inflation in chapter 2 and for his suggestions throughout. An unknown reader also provided useful advice.

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