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Showing posts with label money supply. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money supply. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2013

Killing the Currency


. . . there is no record in the economic history of the whole world, anywhere or at any time, of a serious and prolonged inflation which has not been accompanied and made possible, if not directly caused, by a large increase in the quantity of money.

— Gottfried Haberler, Inflation, Its Causes and Cures (1960)[1]

The phrase “not worth a continental” may be vaguely familiar to Americans as an old and quirky saying, but to Revolutionary War–era Americans it would have been a harsh reminder of a recent nightmare. In order to finance the war, the Continental Congress authorized the issuance of money without rights of redemption in coin or precious metals (unlike other currencies in circulation). In short order, over $225 million Continentals were issued on top of an existing money supply of only $25 million. Initially traded on a one-for-one ratio with paper dollars backed by coin or precious metals, within a mere five years Continental currency had depreciated to worthlessness.[2] It was America’s first major experiment with a fiat currency, and it cost many newly free Americans their livelihood and savings.