Sunday, June 27, 2010

A very old fashioned hyperinflation problem.

I thought this chart was interesting - it shows a different (but not possible in America in these modern times) way of collapsing a currency, namely debauching the coinage. As Roman's military-industrial complex ate up more and more of the budget, Rome did exactly what America is doing today - making the money worth less so it goes farther. It didn't save the Roman empire and it won't save the American empire, either.



Cicero was one of the great orators of the Roman Empire - but as one of the upper class he had little sympathy for the poor or elderly except when it suited him politically. Sound familiar? Notice he doesn't call for reducing the military, scaling back on their imperial activities, or putting the needs of the citizens above the needs of the military-led aristocracy. No indeed - the poor should just either go die or "get a job," never mind that there were no living wage jobs to "get." No admission whatsoever that it's the large masses of common people who really drive the economy and making their lives affordable - let's call it "trickle UP economics" - is the only real way to stabilize or improve society. Even FORD used to know that, but apparently Cicero was an early tea-partier.

Nowadays we debauch our currency not by making it out of base metals instead of precious ones, but by printing so much paper that its value drops - we call it inflation instead of debauching the currency, but its the same thing.

I guess we can't learn from history, so we're doomed to repeat it.

4 comments:

Justin Collum said...

Relevant thread regarding the quote in the infographic

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=28532

"Ahavah" Gayle Bourne said...

Thanks!

Jay Raskin said...

Its amazing how wrong the doomsday prediction of Cicero was about this. The Empire lasted 500 years more amassing ever greater debt until fundamentalist Christianity killed it.

"Ahavah" Gayle Bourne said...

Yes, the monied elite have an amazing capacity for covering their rear ends, don't they? I am continually astonished how far things can be stretched out. But the market can only be distorted so far before it snaps back. Where is the snapping point? That is hard to pin down, especially with all the manipulation going on. Hope you're having a nice snowmageddon!