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Here’s Why Hyperinflationist Lira Is Wrong

RickAckerman's picture





 

 

First, let me say that I’ve long enjoyed reading the rants of over-the-top inflationists like Jim Willie, but also the relatively subdued essays of Gonzalo Lira — even if the latter sometimes comes across as the kind of guy who could wear out a mirror.  I feel a comradeship with both because, predictions about the financial endgame aside, I agree with much of what they have said — most particularly about the robust defensive role that bullion seems likely to play no matter what happens.  But that is not to say that I agree with all of Lira’s and Jim Willie’s arguments. Some background is in order. My instincts concerning deflation were hard-wired in 1976 after reading C.V. Myers’ The Coming Deflation.  The title was premature, as we now know, but the book’s core idea was as timeless and immutable as the Law of Gravity. Myers stated, with elegant simplicity, that “Ultimately, every penny of every debt must be paid — if not by the borrower, then by the  lender.”  Inflationists and deflationists implicitly agree on this point — we are all ruinists at heart, as our readers will long since have surmised, and  we differ only on the question of who, borrower or lender, will take the hit.  As Myers made clear, however, someone will have to pay.  If you understand this, then you understand why the dreadnought of real estate deflation, for one, will remain with us even if 30 million terminally afflicted homeowners leave their house keys in the mailbox. To repeat: We do not make debt disappear by walking away from it; someone will have to take the hit. 

 

Expanding on that point alone, I could dismiss Lira’s entire argument with a wave of the hand, invoking the killer question that blogger Charles Hugh Smith has asked of overheated inflationists, to wit:  Why would the rich and powerful men who control the Federal Reserve, and who would be wiped out by hyperinflation, allow such a thing to happen?  The obvious answer is that they wouldn’t. And won’t. I’ve made this point myself many times before and in many ways, sometimes asking rhetorically whether we should expect Joe Sixpack and tens of millions of other underwater homeowners to be able to retire their mortgages using the confetti money that a hyperinflation would produce. Mortgage lenders would be big losers, of course, but so would anyone hoping to ever own a home — or to borrow money, for whatever purpose.

 

Unbearable Cost of ‘Escaping’ Debt

 

One of the best places to find the inflation vs. deflation argument deconstructed to a fine science, and to confront the horrific – and, as I am about to argue, unbearable — cost of “escaping” debt via hyperinflation, is the 1993 book The Great Reckoning. Co-authors Jim Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg went to great lengths to refract every aspect of the debate. It was this book, and a subsequent dialogue that I had with Jim Davidson, that hardened my deflationist ideas, convincing me – as they likely would many of you, though perhaps not Lira — that a deflationary path would at least be less ruinous than a hyperinflationary one. To be sure, vast amounts of real wealth would be destroyed in either case.  But deflation would have the virtue of inflicting pain on debtors more or less in accordance with their sins, bankrupting those who most deserved it.  That said, one needn’t drag in moral baggage to explain why the powers that be are extremely unlikely to pursue a hyperinflationary course.

 

And “pursue” is the correct word here, since, as The Great Reckoning made clear, hyperinflations don’t simply happen; they can only occur following the willful and deliberate decision of a sovereign government to hyperinflate. We need only consider the catastrophic consequences of hyperinflation to understand why such a scheme is so very unlikely to be promoted and effected by the Masters of the Universe.  For starters, savers and lenders as a class would be wiped out, since their financial assets would become as worthless as the dollar itself. Bond markets and all other institutional conduits of saving and investment would cease to function in the absence of trust – trust that would take many years for capitalists to earn back. From day one, a darkening economy would subsist on cash transactions, which in turn would bring on the hardest of times, little economic growth, and a drop in the standard of living so steep that it might take a generation to rekindle even a glimmer of the American Dream.

 

Deflation’s ‘Virtues’

 

Deflation, on the other hand, would leave the bond and stock markets intact, sparing those with little or no debt from its worst ravages.  For those who owe, a tidal wave of bankruptcies would mete out punishment commensurate with each borrower’s sins of profligacy and/or greed. Businesses would be starved for credit, but whatever savings were available would go to the most promising of them.  Most advantageously for an economy on-the-mend, it would be many years before capital would be hijacked by the paper-shufflers and feather merchants.  In both the public and private sphere, Americans would be forced to live within their means.

 

I won’t belabor Lira’s arguments where he attempts, not entirely without success, to “slice and dice” my logic when it is at its weakest.  But his main criticism — that I have not made a case for deflation, only one against hyperinflation – is disingenuous. For in fact, I have stated the case for deflation thus:  Someday very soon, following the precipitous failure of the world’s banks and securities markets, we will all be too broke to push the price of anything sky-high. Hyperinflationists assume we will have vast piles of cash at-the-ready, physical or digital, to exchange for real goods in a panic or along the way to hyperinflation. But will we? Read Lira’s smug hit-job a dozen times and you will find no mention of how that cash will get into our hands, much less into our hands if the banking system should go blotto. He avers only that, well before a collapse, via quantitative easing, the government will “ram” money “into the economy.” As if that hasn’t been tried to death already.

 

No Middle Way

 

If you believe that one or the other, deflation or hyperinflation, will eventually do us in, then you may find yourself won over by my argument simply on the evidence I muster against hyperinflation.  Read on and judge for yourself. For what it’s worth, Lira’s ruinist essays suggest that we do see eye to eye on one thing – that there is no “middle way” that might allow us to avoid the catastrophic liquidation of a global debt bubble whose notional value has been estimated as high as a quadrillion dollars.

 

Let me dwell for yet another moment on this idea that Americans could go broke overnight. Lira apparently believes this unlikely, if not impossible, and he could be right. But not very, since it is beyond conjecture that the day-to-day economy would grind to a halt quickly if digital money were thrown into chaos and disrepute for more than a few days.  And it’s not as though Americans are so very confident in electronic money’s soundness at this point that the banking system could withstand even a minor crisis. Unfortunately, and as we all know, there are no minor crises any more, especially in the financial realm.

 

We’ll All Be Broke

 

So, broke is what most of us will be when the dust settles, and it is perhaps only a matter of the rate at which we go broke that divides inflationist from deflationist. How quickly could the financial system come tumbling down? Last May’s “flash crash” on Wall Street demonstrated that it could occur in a trice.  Picture the Morning After the next flash crash, but assume that, this time around, the Plunge Protection Team has been unable to arrest its spread into bond markets and other securities markets around the world. Hardly a stretch, right?  But it’s a big stretch to imagine a hyperinflation arising from the smoke and rubble of the creditless world that would result.

 

Will we have gone broke without having had the chance to pay off our mortgages in snide? I say yes; Lira, for his argument to hold, is obliged to say no.  I hope he’s right. Then again, maybe hyperinflation will unfold so slowly that we’ll all have time to trade piles of shrinking dollars for real stuff currently owned by…fools?

 

Whatever happens, I wouldn’t put much store in Lira’s assurance that even small branch-banks keep scads of cash around. Try to withdraw $25,000 from your own branch if you want to find out the truth. He’ll probably say that the banks, with a nod from Uncle Sam, could refill everyone’s account with digital money overnight. I say, think about that for a moment – about the economically fatal traffic jam this would create instantly in the world of real transactions.

 

Deflationary Gas-Bag

 

Lira’s arguments, although certainly not his ungentlemanly, preening condescension, are at their weakest when he attempts to explain how quantitative easing will inject a hyperinflationary sum of dollars into the real economy.  He says our bankrupt government will simply spend limitless quantities of funny money into the “wider economy.”  If it were that easy, why are home prices still falling after trillions of dollars worth of “stimulus”? And why have wages failed to rise?  Granted, fuel and grocery prices have been going up. But how long can that trend continue with incomes stagnating and household discretionary cash plummeting?  (That was not a problem in 1922 Weimar, by the way, for reason that I shall explain shortly.) And how many seats will the airlines fill this summer if prices stay above $500?  With respect to the inflation of stock-market prices, we’ll let Lira shoot himself in the foot if he wants to argue that Wall Street’s cosmic gas-bag is other than a deflationary juggernaut waiting to implode.  Meanwhile, a vastly larger gas-bag in the form of a global derivatives bubble is set to implode with irresistible force. Hundreds of trillions of dollars’ worth of collateral are destined to shrink to the vanishing point.  That is the true measure of deflation’s force, and when it starts to snowball again as it did in 2008, no puny multitrillion-dollar monetization by the Fed will even begin to counteract it.

 

Finally, we cannot let Lira evade the question of how, specifically, the government will “ram” (his word) QE3/QE4/QE5 money into the economy, especially when the state and local governments who in earlier times would have been the most eager and efficient conduits for these sums have begun to refuse them, knowing as they do that each new stimulus dollar will only create more debt for future taxpayers.  We’d like to believe that the common sense of Republican and Tea Party governors and legislators alone will suffice to smother any inflation that might otherwise seep into the economy via supercharged outlays of cities, counties and states. In fact, the deflationary opposite is happening as local and state governments expand layoffs and pare budgets to the bone. Which leaves only the private economy to receive a wage stimulus sufficient to catalyze hyperinflation.  On that score, just as we’ve asked hyperinflationists to wake us when we can sell our home for a quadrillion dollars, we’ll ask them now to send us a job application when GM is paying assembly-line workers $800 an hour.

 

When Money Dies

 

Big employers effectively did so in Germany, allowing weekly wage settlements with then-pervasive trade unions to track hyperinflation almost step-for-step.  But you’ll need to read Adam Fergusson’s book about the Weimar hyperinflation, When Money Dies, to understand exactly why the U.S. is legally and practically constrained from duplicating Germany’s dubious feat. If you believe otherwise — believe, as Lira evidently does, that the Fed could somehow put a google of dollars into circulation on demand — then you should be buying real estate hand-over-fist right now. When Money Dies is a great read even for those who’d rather not be disabused of the notion that today’s USA, economically and financially, is not 1921’s Weimar. I particularly recommend a chapter that recounts how the most extreme periods of German hyperinflation occurred while the country’s money-printing presses were idled by strikes.  Turns out, some of Weimar’s largest employers had been authorized by the government to print scrip in the event that crates of official money didn’t arrive in time to meet payroll. Imagine what such a policy could do for Detroit! For the whole world!

 

Rather than argue that this couldn’t happen, we’ll say only that if it did, it would be but a momentary blip in a deflationary collapse in real estate that Lira doesn’t even mention.  Just wait till the incipient collapse in commercial property values hits full-bore.  This is yet another deflationary juggernaut that the arrogant and pompous Lira has conveniently failed to notice.  He will soon, though, and the shock of it may yet distract his attention from an inflation that so far has barely overflowed the lettuce bin.

 

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Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:33 | Link to Comment gorillaonyourback
gorillaonyourback's picture

petro dollars are coming to an end. i have to guess what i read a few months ago but i think it was less than 50% of contracts were settled in petro dollars. china and Russia almost done with the pipeline from eastern Siberia, Venezuela, Iran take whatever

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:26 | Link to Comment LivermoreJim
LivermoreJim's picture

American poet Robert Frost wrote this:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I don't which which the current financial world will collaspe, but both commentators agree that it will.  Best bet is to be prepared for both.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:22 | Link to Comment fredquimby
fredquimby's picture

Do catch up. FOFOA already buried Ackerman over this.

http://fofoa.blogspot.com/2011/04/big-gap-in-understanding-weakens.html

And Ackerbaby certainly hasn't replied to FOFOA.....as far as i know...

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:16 | Link to Comment What_Me_Worry
What_Me_Worry's picture

You are 100% correct on the banks not having much cash.  However, in the digital age, we don't have as great of a need for physical FRNs to make purchases.  We have near 100% access to our debit and credit balances.  My banks have been tripping over themselves to increase my credit lines to absurd levels.  I could clear out a grocery store's staple goods just on my plastic.

Anectodal- We had forecasts of a horrible, everyone is going to die, blizzard here a few months ago.  Many stores were getting cleared out of bottled water and other supplies(I'm not sure why you need to stock up on bottled water during a storm of frozen water).  Long story short, people will panic(sometimes irrationally) if the right situation presents itself.  The blizzard was no big deal, of course.

It is rare for me to ever even need to withdraw physical cash.  I have been able to go weeks with not even one physical bill on me and spend money like a drunken sailor.

Hyper-inflation is merely a currency deflating in relation to gold.  The Fed need not ever "print" one more physical dollar for this to occur.  You seem quick to point out that we cannot be another "Weimar", yet cling to the "Weimar" ideal that as long as there aren't houses built out of physical notes that we will not experience any form of hyper-inflation.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:53 | Link to Comment Kayman
Kayman's picture

Alfred

Try buying something with cash and find out how negotiable the price is.  Plastic is inflationary.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:14 | Link to Comment turkbevi
turkbevi's picture

I have wrestled with the deflation/hyperinflation debate for several years now and have a question.

 

Since we are now a much more global economy than the Wiemar Republic Days...and that foreigners hold a huge amount of our debt; what happens if and when our creditors decide to start buying our assets with the dollars they hold? How does that affect your thinking? Doesn't that increase the velocity of money/inflation?

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:13 | Link to Comment idoubtit
idoubtit's picture

Rick is right.

All you hyperinflationists envision pushing a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread.  The problem is, nobody has a wheelbarrow of money.  All the Fed is doing right now is bring a harsher dose of deflation on by taking MORE money out of the hands of consumers via commodity prices.  You can see it already starting.  The margin compression occurring in companies that try to raise prices and realize everybody they are selling to is broke.  For fun, let's imagine oil goes up to $200.  What's going to happen?  Are you going to drive a truckload of money to the gas station or are you going to ride your bike to work?  The Fed is only delaying the inevitable.  It's like a credit card company that keeps lowering the interest rate on a borrower to prevent a default until the borrower has borrowed so much that there is no choice but to start writing off debt.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:24 | Link to Comment no2foreclosures
no2foreclosures's picture

This "argument" is pretty simple and doesn't need the voluminous words put forth by both Gonzalo or Ackerman (or that ex-Canadian windbag, Nicole “Stoneleigh” Foss of The Automatic Earth).

There is and will be price inflation, maybe even hyperinflation caused by sudden public realization/panic, in certain sectors of the economy depending on which country one is located in, i.e., gold, silver, commodities, retail and wholesale food, gasoline and diesel prices, toilet paper, water, and, basically, in all things that the average person does need to survive and live on, etc.

On the other hand, there is and will be price deflation, maybe even hyperdeflation (remotely), i.e., prices going down to near zero in price and/or worth, in other sectors of the economy depending on which country one is located in, i.e., stocks, bonds, U.S. Treasuries and all forms of corporation and government debt, real estate prices both in residential and commercial sectors, and, basically, in most things that the average person doesn't need to survive and live on, etc.

The one caveat to all of this is that there will be certain things and services that the very rich desire which will maintain and even increase their prices due to the demand from the super rich, i.e., luxury items like super mansions and "toys" like private jets, etc.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:31 | Link to Comment SilverBaron
SilverBaron's picture

Well said.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:38 | Link to Comment Kayman
Kayman's picture

"The one caveat to all of this is that there will be certain things and services that the very rich desire which will maintain and even increase their prices due to the demand from the super rich, i.e., luxury items like super mansions and "toys" like private jets, etc."

I am not so certain conspicuous consumption will be in vogue, when the masses realize they have nothing left to lose.

The fat piggies will be easy to find.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:11 | Link to Comment tekhneek
tekhneek's picture

Time will tell which one of you jackasses is right or wrong. Stop writing bullshit like this, please. It lacks substance and just repeats the same stupid opinions regurgitated once over.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:28 | Link to Comment Waterman Jim
Waterman Jim's picture

The substance is the debate. your opinion that this is all BS is dully noted.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

Lira is "the kind of guy who could wear out a mirror"  --cheap shot, even if it's true.

But this: "Why would the rich and powerful men who control the Federal Reserve, and who would be wiped out by hyperinflation, allow such a thing to happen?"

Can Ackerman really be that stupid?  He thinks that the Warburgs, Rothschilds, Kuhns, Loebs, etc are all stuck with keeping their wealth in US dollars? No, even Ackerman can't be that stupid.

Yo, Rick: You didn't read When Money Dies very carefully.  The wealthy corporate moguls of Germany grew vastly richer off the Weimar hyperinflation; all of them defied the foreign currency controls. In the 2001 Argentine crisis, the Argentine plutocrats converted their pesos to dollars and wired them into Miami banks.  They escaped the peso collapse and grew wealthier off the misery of the middle class.

The super-wealthy family trusts that are behind the Federal Reserve reside mostly in Europe, and they can move their wealth beyond the reach of any government or currency controls in a moment. They won't lose a penny in a dollar collapse; their funds will be shifted into currencies or commodities that will skyrocket as the dollar goes down.

Then, like the kleptocrats of Argentina, they can step in and pick up the assets of Americans at pennies on the dollar.

Lira 1, Ackerman 0

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 16:00 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Bravo!

But actually, it is more like:

Lira 1, Ackerman -1

 

To be honest, at this point I am more and more suspicious of anyone who continues to bray about "the threat of deflation".  I increasingly am coming to suspect that anyone who would disingenuously make such outrageous claims, in the face of all historical and logical evidence to the contrary, is merely a shill for the status-quo power structure, and willfully working to spread monetary disinformational smokescreens for the same.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:07 | Link to Comment tradewithdave
tradewithdave's picture

This is a great debate. I am an expert on one small aspect. I went to the bank in November to withdraw $9,000.00. The teller got the manager. The manager told me I could have $3,000.00 and in the future she wants a five day notice for "large" cash withdrawals.

I asked "what constitutes 'large'?" She said 'it depends'.

So much for "demand deposits." Don't miss the critique of Ackerman by FOFOA at my site.

Dave Harrison
WWW.tradewithdave.com

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:06 | Link to Comment riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

How does deflation or inflation  destroy "vast amounts of real wealth "? Real wealth are cars, houses, buildings, machines, productive human knowledge, bicycles, gold, silver, copper, mines, farms, oil wells, land, ships airplanes, hospitals.  Learn what wealth is and is not. So you can get a clue wealth is not stock certificates, US government bonds, MBS, CDOs, printed pieces of paper with dead presidents and so on. 

Did you really site a book from 1976 calling for deflation? Holly smokes we are getting close to the Keynesian "in the long run we are all dead" Keep holding your breath Rickardo, maybe it will make you condense some of your long windedness down.


 


Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:03 | Link to Comment batting500
batting500's picture

I believe we will see inflation, this article does a GREAT job of showing another arguement.  Thank you for posting it.

 

Good Luck to All...

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:00 | Link to Comment lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

....this was a great article & i loved the comments ~~ i read them all & learned a lot !!

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:57 | Link to Comment web bot
web bot's picture

You are flawed in one very important area of your thinking. You believe that the Fed won't allow hyperinflation. You "presume" that they can "stop" it from happening.

Once hyperinflation begins you just can't stop it. All we need is one more major financial collapse (or collapse of the US dollar) and this will result in QE liquidity to slosh around the globe seeking yield in anything that can hold relative value... which means you have velocity of money occurring... skyrocketing prices, the destruction of the standard of living... and you have hyperinflation.

Looking at wage increases, the lens that the Fed is looking won't signal the onset of hyperinflation. Lira is right on.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:54 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

Overall, deflation is going to win.  Hyperinflation is a distinct possibily though... but as a waypoint along the way to the ultimate deflation.  Likely a short-lived episode versus the deflationary experience that is coming.  The scapegoats for it will not be the Fed though.  It will be the people and politicians.  And it will be played as an unforeseen consequence - of course!

The Fed is just a part of the effect here - so are the banks.  They can be dismantled as needed and rebuilt again elsewhere.  Thier sucess or failure should not part of the criteria in looking at where we are going.  The same can be said for governments.  The money and power at play here has no allegiance.  It is more primal than that - and planned/executed on much longer timeframes than we typically consider.  At shorter time intervals, there simply is too much chaos and unpredictability.

Anyhow, many authors that make excellent arguments.  And it takes brass to put those arguments out here for all the read (and attack).  Give it time, and I think we will see more of a "unified theory" start to emerge.  And of course, for peasants like myself, knowing the overall direction is one thing... knowing what the path looks like is another.

 

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:52 | Link to Comment Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Rick, would you mind commenting on these graphs?

1) http://www.schillerinstitute.org/graphics/diagrams/TripleCurve.jpg

2) http://img88.imageshack.us/i/economiccycleen.jpg/

My two cents.. high unemployment = low productivity. Bernank will have to raise interest rates, which will trigger new strains in housing market.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:51 | Link to Comment Nout Wellink
Nout Wellink's picture

Funny you mention Fergusson's book. At the end of the "Note to the 2010 Edition" Fergusson states: 

"People's trust in their currency is here a central theme. As it evaporates, they SPEND FASTER, the velocity of circulation increases, a little money does the work of much, prices take off, and more money is needed." 

Ouch, that completely destroys your arguments you made here.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:17 | Link to Comment Printfaster
Printfaster's picture

Bingo.  Check the Weimar fetzen.  They were stuck in a cycle where the value of money kept going down, so velocity had to compensate for the loss in value. 

Take a look at the world wide currency store, and compare it to the value of that store in gold, or oil for that matter.  I would bet that we are seeing worldwide inflation of a rate that begs for velocity.

It is a lot harder to see velocity increases in money today because of the electronic nature of transactions.  I sometimes wonder at the rate a dollar courses through the system in one day.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:48 | Link to Comment Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

FOFOA already destroyed this argument.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:54 | Link to Comment rickack
rickack's picture

Yeah, sure.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

You and Lira deserve each other. Two arrogant goofs in a pissing contest. I'll stick with FOFOA; good luck betting on deflation.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:45 | Link to Comment tpberg7
tpberg7's picture

Excellent point Tough Guy!

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:03 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I'm with FOFOA too.

But, it seems like a good idea to me to have 6 months worth of FRNs on hand in case we do get deflation.  Bearings are not good at predicting the future.

Cash and (lots of) gold.  Diversification.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:46 | Link to Comment Jack Sheet
Jack Sheet's picture

Sheeit, please, not another "inflation/deflation/hyperinflation piece". The debate has become completely academic and semantic. The terms should be eliminated and replaced with something else. The only issue is how to maintain your standard of living and the value of your assets.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:44 | Link to Comment LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Rick:  Hyperinflation is a POLITICAL event, not a monetary one.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:54 | Link to Comment rickack
rickack's picture

Politicians and the rabble don't control the money supply; the Masters of the Universe do.

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 12:14 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

So then ask yourself: who wins/loses the most in a deflationary collapse? Who wins/loses the most in a hyperinflationary event?

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:45 | Link to Comment lookma
lookma's picture

Visca el FOFOA !!!

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:42 | Link to Comment Nout Wellink
Nout Wellink's picture

FOFOA has already countered the flawed arguments of Ackerman:

http://fofoa.blogspot.com/2011/04/big-gap-in-understanding-weakens.html

Indeed: it is the demand side that Bernanke has no power over. If we decide the dollar is worthless, it is. Instantly.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:53 | Link to Comment rickack
rickack's picture

True enough.  But there remains that small matter of who will decide whether the house on which you put 5% down is still "worth" $400,000.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:00 | Link to Comment SilverBaron
SilverBaron's picture

The same people who are allowing mark to model instead of mark to market.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 13:23 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Another one of the crucial points Ricky fails to address SB. I am a bit surprised that I have had to scroll this far down the thread to see it brought up...

Even MISH recognizes this as the onion in the USD deflationists ointment.

"...Thus my model suggests 2007 to February 2009 were periods of deflation, March 2009 to May 2010 were periods of inflation, and now we are likely back in deflation but it is hard to say given institutions do not mark assets to market. Extend and pretend is massive." - Mike Shedlock

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/chris-martenson-interviews-mike-shedlock-discusses-deflation-fed-gold-and-other-subjects

Regards

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:35 | Link to Comment Hot Piece of Bass
Hot Piece of Bass's picture

Can I submit a request for the top moustaches of economic thought?

Given the widespread use of credit as money on the road that got us here... the evaporation of said credit seems to be an obvious deflationary force.  But I rarely read anything on how much credit has/had taken the place of paper money in so many transactions. Thus... even though the Fed did not print vast loads of money during the mid 2000's, the mass expansion of credit by the banking sector during those times could be seen as inflationary.

Given the proliferation of so many purchases on credit, I would think it should have some role to play in any argument involving deflation and inflation.

Just a thought.

 

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:35 | Link to Comment franzpick
franzpick's picture

Friend's daughter/SIL have defaulted (2 years ago) on 2 investment homes, as well as on their own re-fi'd at the top and heloc'd residence (last year):  total loans $1.2 Mil.

During these 2 years, the banks have been claiming the defaulted payments as income, continuing drawing their salary bonuses, and the borrowers fico has come partway back toward a qualifying level in 2-3 more years.

Amazing to me that both the borrowers and lenders are going to be 'jubileed' on these losses, but won't such losses surface eventually in another way ?  Like bank, mortgage lending or virtual home price collapse ?

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:38 | Link to Comment Teaser
Teaser's picture

jubilee or no jubilee, what we're talking about is a transfer of wealth from the savers to the spenders.  The argument we're having is how much the savers lose vs how much the spenders lose.  Right now, the savers are getting their butts kicked.  And Ben is a spender.  So is Congress.  They have the power and make the rules.  The end game is simple to see politcially.  The spenders will take everything the savers have and everything they make, until such time as the savers decide to kill all the spenders.  I am afraid that that time is coming soon.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:07 | Link to Comment Kayman
Kayman's picture

"The spenders will take everything the savers have and everything they make, until such time as the savers decide to kill all the spenders.  I am afraid that that time is coming soon."

What amazes me, is how large a disconnect there is between the government propaganda (thru the MSM) and what is actually happening on the ground.  I see desperation everywhere- good people on their last legs.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:57 | Link to Comment SilverBaron
SilverBaron's picture

+1

Revolution or WW3 are the most likely outcomes.  Americans will not sit by and starve without attempting to take what they need.  It's hard to make slaves out of armed people.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:49 | Link to Comment QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

yes, from the prudent to the reckless

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:31 | Link to Comment Magnum
Magnum's picture

I was in Vietnam in 1992, and at that time in order to pay for a meal you had to carry around, literally, a paper bag full of money.  Pockets were not big enough.  Then, after you got the bill, it took a good 5 minutes to count what you owed.

It's neat that you are so enamored with the work of Mr Myers but some realworld experience begs the question--why are we so special that the "bags of money to pay for dinner" scenario won't play out here?

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:39 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Because unlike Vietnam, there won't be any food or water to buy.  Our creditors will be buying it all.  Hhmmm, perhaps commodity inflation isn't so bad after all.  Might fix that trade deficit.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:31 | Link to Comment Bub Ba
Bub Ba's picture

Rick, even for you, that was a nasty rant.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:50 | Link to Comment rickack
rickack's picture

How well you know me!

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:31 | Link to Comment False Capital
False Capital's picture

Why the stark choice of deflation vs. hyperinflation? There are myriad other alternatives. Personally, I'm leaning towards deflation when measured in gold. It is possible we will see the complete repudiation of the FRN and replacement with another currency (e.g. SDR's or the US dollar (as originally defined in weight of gold / silver). Hyperinflation is not necessary if an exchange rate is defined. Just a one-off massive loss in purchasing power.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:27 | Link to Comment Bullionaire
Bullionaire's picture

Ackerman = Nadler.

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 10:51 | Link to Comment rickack
rickack's picture

Come over to my web site and try that one, B.

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