Monday, November 24, 2008

Inflation and Deflation are the Same Thing

What?! you say. Ethan has a screw loose. Inflation and deflation are opposites!
Au contraire, mon frere.

In practice, inflation and deflation are effectively the same thing. Inflation is "you have lots of money but it isn't worth anything" and deflation is "money is worth a lot but you don't have any."

In either case, massive social and economic dislocation occurs. And the same crisis can simultaneously cause both outcomes - witness during the Great Depression, which created deflation in the United States and hyperinflation in Weimar Germany, both with the same root cause: the collapse of the British Imperial trading order and the decline of the pound sterling as the global reserve currency.

For an orderly and functioning society, the intersection of people having money and that money being worth something is required. I don't think we're heading there, and whether we drive off the right side of the road or the left side, this is going to be ugly.

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