Category Archives: inflation

White farmers turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the region

Living in Rhodesia in ’76, Dalrymple read up on the question of land distribution. He

came to the utopian (and false) conclusion that a reform in which white-owned commercial farmland was redistributed to African peasants could serve the cause of justice without reducing production.

The whites, he writes,

were 5% of the population and owned half the land (the better half too). The commercial farmers among them were a small minority of a small minority. There was no doubt that at the historic root of their ownership (not very far back in time, either) was the ruthless use of force and fraud. There was also no doubt that they had turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the whole region.

Land expropriation, when it came,

neither served justice nor preserved production. It was not the peasants who benefited from it, but the régime’s cronies.

Production fell 90%

and turned a country that had long been a magnet for immigration into one of mass emigration. The alternative to mass emigration was mass starvation. The land expropriation played its part in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, one of the most dramatic in history.

Welcome to Yugoslavia

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 07.31.48

Boches beware

The old hatreds are stirring

At the end of his book Bismarck Herring: The German Poison, MEP and Parti de Gauche co-leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was a presidential candidate in 2012 (he got 11.1% of the vote), points out that France retains independent military power, with, observes Dalrymple,

the clear implied message that Germany does not.

It was, says Dalrymple,

in the highest degree irresponsible

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.03.43to cobble together in a monetary union

two large countries – two large blocs of countries – with such different attitudes and interests. One of the justifications trotted out for the European Union is that it brings peace, as if, without it, Slovenia would attack Spain. In fact, by making neither living together nor divorce feasible, it is fostering a conflict such as that of the former Yugoslavia.

Notes on Germany and France

The Germans, Dalrymple explains,

have, or want to have, faith in their currency. The folk memory of inflations is still strong in Germany. Inflation is their bugbear and fiscal rectitude their policy, irrespective of who is in power. The rebuilding of the country and the achievement of monetary stability is their source of national pride. Financial rectitude is visible in their private lives: the Germans use credit cards far less than the French, let alone the British. When the German banks joined in the financial debauchery of the 1990s and 2000s, afraid of missing out, it turned out that they were no good at it. Speculation was not their forte.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.11.30As for the French, they

receive good value for their taxation. The country is conspicuously well-administered, as anyone who has driven through it will attest; and, in my experience, French bureaucrats, however much their onerous and Byzantine exactions may be detested, are much more intelligent and efficient than British ones. The French have a faith in their state which is in part justified. Its benefits are obvious every day; its stultifying effects are less evident except to the smaller proportion of the population that attempts something new.

The French duty to cheat the fiscal tyrants

In France there is, Dalrymple discerns,

a cultural predisposition to assume that while private profit is reprehensible, public expenditure paid for by tax is inherently good. This does not preclude a private avidity for money or a belief that cheating or deceiving the taxman is a proper sport, like cycling or swimming.

Halt! Ihre Papiere, bitte. Schnell!

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.03.13Pax Germanica

It is not something the Germans have sought, writes Dalrymple. It has been

thrust upon them by their diligence, industry and constant application of intelligence to the real rather than the virtual economy, by their willingness to get rich slow.

The Germans do not want to throw their weight about, demanding every country’s

Papiere, bitte.

Yet they

do not want to be responsible for rampant inflation or for the breakup of the euro, either.

Whatever is decided,

love of Germany in Europe will not grow.

Asset inflation as the principal source of wealth corrodes character

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 00.05.06It not only undermines the traditional bourgeois virtues, writes Dalrymple. It

makes them ridiculous and even reverses them. Prudence becomes imprudence, thrift becomes improvidence, sobriety becomes meanspiritedness, 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. And circumstances force almost everyone to join in the dance….[It] is not an economic problem only, or even mainly, but one that afflicts the human soul.

(2009)