Potential Future Hyperinflation

Linked with Walter Jon Williams – USA.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Stephen Lendman, 10 June, 2008.

Some excerpts of a long text: Walter Jon Williams thinks out of the box. He makes disquieting reading, but you won’t find him in the mainstream. At least not often. He runs a “Shadow Government Statistics” site with an electronic by-subscription newsletter. Anyone can access some of his data and occasional special reports. They can also assess his reasoning. In his judgment, government data are manipulated, corrupted and unreliable. He’s not alone thinking that …

… Another example is how federal deficits are calculated. Beginning with Nixon in 1969, a “unified budget” was adopted to artificially lower them by offsetting expenditures with “off-budget” Social Security revenues. The idea was to hide government’s true cost at a time wartime and Great Society spending was high and would later factor into the 1970s and 1980s inflation. If deficits were calculated then and now by GAAP methodology (required of all publicly-traded corporations), they’d be much higher than annually reported – since the 1970s, in multiple trillions of dollars; fiscal alchemy sweeps them under the rug …

… He highlighted his concern in a recent April 2008 report called “Hyperinflation Special Report” with three dramatic sub-headings:

  • “Inflationary Recession Is in Place;
  • Banking Solvency Crisis Has Opened First Phase Monetary Inflation;” and
  • “Hyperinflationary Depression Remains Likely As Early as 2010″ …

… More definitions:

  • Deflation – a decrease in goods and services prices, generally from a money supply contraction;
  • Inflation – the reverse of the above;
  • Hyperinflation – extreme inflation, as explained above, to a level where money becomes worthless or nearly so; according to Williams, the coming hyperinflation is because of a “lack of monetary discipline formerly imposed….by the gold standard, and a (Fed) dedicated to preventing a collapse in the money supply (and preventing) the implosion of the (ongoing) extremely over-leveraged domestic financial system;”
  • Recession – officially defined as two or more consecutive (inflation-adjusted) GDP contracting quarters; many economists don’t agree on this, and some gauge conditions by the relative strength or weakness of industrial production, payroll employment, retail sales, and so forth; add it up and clearly the US is in recession; how bad and for how long will only be known in time;
  • Depression – a recession “where (inflation-adjusted) peak-to-trough contraction exceeds 10%; and a
  • Great depression – one where the peak-to-trough exceeds 25%. It happened only once so far in US history in the 1930s.

Williams believes the current US contraction is about halfway to becoming a “depression,” but before it ends it may become “Great Depression II” to distinguish it from the earlier one. We’re now in an “inflationary recession,” and available data confirm it – soaring food and oil prices, a weakened dollar, true unemployment over 12%, real inflation nearly as high, …

… With all that to deal with, consider another dilemma – the likelihood of painful political change, civil unrest, disruptive violence, and utter chaos. If Williams is right and hyperinflation arrives, Katie bar the door on what may follow. Revolutions are possible with three notable last century ones to consider – in Russia, Weimer Germany and Nationalist China. In each case, the old order ended, everything changed, but not for the good. How does Williams advise? Evaluate one’s own circumstances, use common sense, and forewarned is forearmed. That will help, but hard times hurt everyone.

Hopefully they won’t arrive, at least not full-blown as Williams predicts. But make no mistake. Excess has a price. The more of it the greater. America has an ocean of it. Sooner or later comes payback. “Things that can’t go on forever won’t”. (full long text).

(Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached by e-mail).

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