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Philip Haslam: When Money Destroys Nations

Philip Haslam: When Money Destroys Nations

Understanding how currencies collapse

The global debt glut, plus the related money printing efforts by the world’s central banks to try to stimulate further credit growth at all costs, leads us to conclude that a major currency crisis — actually, multiple major currency crises — are practically inevitable at this point.

To understand better the anatomy of a currency collapse, we talk this week with Philip Haslam, author of the book When Money Destroys Nations. Haslam is an authority on monetary history, and more recently, has spent much time in Zimbabwe collecting dozens of accounts of the experiences real people had as the currency there failed.

This week, he and Chris discuss the process by which a hyperinflationary currency collapse occurs:

In South Africa, there’s a river called Suicide Gorge where you can jump off from the top of a series of waterfalls. You jump off each waterfall, and you can then go down to the next. But the problem is, once you jump off each waterfall, you can’t get back up again. So we used this analogy to describe the process of hyperinflation.

Typically, as a government prints money, you get levels of inflation. But that’s inflation based on historic money printing. Every year, when you get your salary increase, you base it on historic processes. You take the latest consumer price index and then build it into your wage increases. If you’re a business, you’ll build it into rent increases and price increases of your products. But it’s all based on historic inflation.

 

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