The curse of inflation

Dalrymple writes:

Asset inflation—ultimately, the debasement of the currency—as the principal source of wealth corrodes the character of people. It not only undermines the traditional bourgeois virtues but makes them ridiculous and even reverses them.

He notes that

  • prudence becomes imprudence
  • thrift becomes improvidence
  • sobriety becomes mean-spiritedness
  • modesty becomes lack of ambition
  • self-control becomes betrayal of the inner self
  • patience becomes lack of foresight
  • steadiness becomes inflexibility
  • all that was wisdom becomes foolishness

Everyone must join in the dance, except in one circumstance,

the possession of a salary and a pension that the government promises, implicitly or explicitly, to index against inflation. This is the situation of public-sector workers and is a pyramid scheme, since events may require the government to renege on its obligations.

But in the meantime,

such employment will seem a haven, and the temptation will be for government to expand it, with the happy consequence—for itself—of increasing dependence. And dependence, too, undermines character.

Inflation

is not a bogey for everyone—not for those who wish to restructure society, for example, or for those who want government control of ever more aspects of people’s lives. But for the rest of us, the consequences of its full-blown return are not likely to be good: for inflation is not an economic problem only, or even mainly, but one that afflicts the human soul.

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