How Hyperinflation Could Start in America

By:  Bob Adelmann
10/26/2011
       
How Hyperinflation Could Start in America

David Galland’s article for the Daily Reckoning painted a picture of imminent collapse of America’s monetary system, which was followed four days later by Clive Maund’s possible scenario of bank failures following on the heels of a eurozone collapse. Mamta Badkar raised the specter of hyperinflation in his Business Insider article by reviewing the “10 Worst Hyper-Inflation Horror-Stories of the Past Century,” reflecting interest in whether, or how, the economic disaster of hyperinflation would affect the United States.

According to Badkar, the runaway inflation of Germany in the early 1920s is one of the worst cases in history, where, at its nadir, the monthly inflation rate reached 29,500 percent in October 1923. In post-World War II Greece, inflation peaked at 20.9 percent a month in October 1944, while in July 1946, inflation in Hungary hit 207 percent daily. In China, following the Second World War, inflation reached 2,178 percent in May 1949, equivalent to a daily rate of 11 percent.

In the mid-1970s, Chile suffered from an inflation rate of 746 percent annually, while Argentina’s inflation rate in 1989 hit 12,000 percent. Bolivia’s inflation between May and August 1985 hit 60,000 percent on an annual basis. Nicaragua’s inflation rate in 1987 exceeded 30,000 percent; Yugoslavia’s daily rate of inflation reached 64.6 percent between 1989 and 1994; and in perhaps the most famous hyperinflation of all time, the purchasing power of Zimbabwean dollars was virtually obliterated, with inflation reaching 416 quintillion percent annually.

David Galland’s article for the Daily Reckoning painted a picture of imminent collapse of America’s monetary system, which was followed four days later by Clive Maund’s possible scenario of bank failures following on the heels of a eurozone collapse. Mamta Badkar raised the specter of hyperinflation in his Business Insider article by reviewing the “10 Worst Hyper-Inflation Horror-Stories of the Past Century,” reflecting interest in whether, or how, the economic disaster of hyperinflation would affect the United States.

According to Badkar, the runaway inflation of Germany in the early 1920s is one of the worst cases in history, where, at its nadir, the monthly inflation rate reached 29,500 percent in October 1923. In post-World War II Greece, inflation peaked at 20.9 percent a month in October 1944, while in July 1946, inflation in Hungary hit 207 percent daily. In China, following the Second World War, inflation reached 2,178 percent in May 1949, equivalent to a daily rate of 11 percent.

In the mid-1970s, Chile suffered from an inflation rate of 746 percent annually, while Argentina’s inflation rate in 1989 hit 12,000 percent. Bolivia’s inflation between May and August 1985 hit 60,000 percent on an annual basis. Nicaragua’s inflation rate in 1987 exceeded 30,000 percent; Yugoslavia’s daily rate of inflation reached 64.6 percent between 1989 and 1994; and in perhaps the most famous hyperinflation of all time, the purchasing power of Zimbabwean dollars was virtually obliterated, with inflation reaching 416 quintillion percent annually.

German citizens related their stories of how they were impacted. Walter Levy, a German-born oil consultant in New York, commented,

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