When the German government ran the printing presses during the Weimar Republic the result was catastrophic hyperinflation. Why not now? This is a genuine question which I hope Zero Hedge readers can help answer.
Apart from the hyperinflation the parallels between then and now are striking. All quotes are from Adam Fergusson’s 1975 classic account of the times, When Money Dies - The Nightmare of the. Weimar Collapse
Printing money to meet government needs – today QE
On September 20, 1921, Mr Joseph Addison…Councillor at the British Embassy in Berlin, reported to the Foreign Office:
The daily creation of fresh paper money which the government requires in order to meet its obligations both at home and abroad (services and goods which it is 'obliged both to render and deliver') inevitably decreases the purchasing value of the mark and leads to fresh demands, which in turn bring about a further decline, and so on ad infinitum. page 27
Rampant speculation on the part of the population – today Robinhood
'There is enormous speculation,' Addison continued.
Millions of persons in this country are, I think accurately, reported to be buying foreign currencies in anticipation of fresh tax burdens, and to be hoarding foreign bank notes … I hardly know a single German of either sex who is not speculating in foreign currencies, such as Austrian crowns, Polish marks and even Kerensky roubles. In as much also as a fall in the value of the mark is inevitably accompanied by a rise in the quotation of industrial shares, speculators are supposed to be operating systematically to depreciate the mark with a view to reaping the benefit of higher quotations in the share market. page 27
Industry gains by the government subsidies – today Fed intervention in markets
Coal was available below cost price in Britain. Bread was sold considerably under its open market price. Railway transport was offered at less than working costs. The German budget suffered to the immense and continuous gain of German commerce and industry. page 28
Inability to sustain the economy without the printing press – today every increasing QE
In October 1921 the state of the budget was sombre. In terms of paper marks, the sum of the government's ordinary expenditure (including the recent 10 milliard wage increase) and the estimated payments to the Allies in reparations and occupation costs was 113 milliard marks. The revenue from the previous budget and from new taxation proposals of July would amount to less than 90 milliards. These calculations were based on a conversion ratio of one gold mark to 13 paper marks — but already the true rate was 22 to one… Effectively, therefore, any reparations payments at all would unbalance the budget again, with the inevitable effect on the mark. Page 29