Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who's Afraid of Inflationary Finance?

The Germans, of course. I'm a tad late to this party, but now's as good a time as any to jump in. It seems the German central bank (ReichsBundesbank ) has challenged the ECB's newest bond-buying scheme (which to my understanding consists of the ECB selling German bonds and using the proceeds to buy up Italian and Spanish debt to suppress yields) in the German Constitutional Court. Check it out:

Apparently, the head of the Bundesbank, Jen Weidsmann, has threatended to resign over what he calls "state financing via the money press." Of course, inflationary finance is a touchy subject for Germans, given its history with hyperinflation from 1921-1924 under the Weimar Republic. And of course, as everyone knows, it's that hyperinflation that lead to the collapse of democracy in Germany and the rise of Hitler!

Except that's not true. Hyperinflation in Germany ended in 1924, when Germany revalued and issued a new currency called the Rentenmark, at an exchange rate of 1,000,000,000,000 reichsmarks = 1 rentenmark.
Hitler was not elected as Chancellor of Germany until the 1932 elections, taking office on Jan. 30, 1933. That's a full nine years after the end of hyperinflation, in the middle of the deflationary Great Depression. Whats the connection between the election of 1933 and an inflation that occurred a decade earlier?

Lets get the history straight, shall we? Inflationary finance did not bring about the Nazis; mass unemployment did. Crushing debt burdens owed to foreigners did. Foreign mandates imposed in a beleagured population did. THAT'S the kind of environment that leads to radical leaders who's messages of spite and hatred can take root.

No comments:

Post a Comment