Inflation is crafty in his theft. He doesn’t take all the power of your money at once; he bleeds it slowly and steadily, counting on a general naiveté of money, banking, and financial markets to prevent the call for his head. Inflation hides his theft in a snowstorm of official-looking reports and statistics.
Inflation is egalitarian in his theft. Whether a man has 10 dollars or 10 million dollars, he’ll take six cents out of each dollar this year. He taxes each man in direct proportion to the amount of money he holds.
In distributing that money, however, inflation is the lowest type of thief. He takes the 60 cents from the poor man and the 600,000 dollars from the rich man and gives it all to the rich man less a few pennies for administrative expenses. Even when the rich man pays the wages of the poor man, inflation has again stolen a little of its value by the time poor man gets his hands on it.
Who is inflation and where did he come from? In times gone by, inflation was born on a printing press and in the counting houses of kings. Today, with just a stroke of a pen and the clicking of a computer keyboard in a central bank he springs to life.
In simplest terms, inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. In more technical terms, inflation is the result of a total money supply that has become undocked from the total goods and services produced. He owes his entire existence to money masters who have convinced themselves that the process of moving money from hand to hand and around the world is too messy to happen without their meddling.
Who are these money masters? They are lonely, twisted practitioners of the dismal science of economics, confident in their ability to succeed in a task which is beyond the capability of any group of men. With religious fervor they hold tight to their beliefs despite thousands of years of failure, and each quarter proudly proclaim, “this time, we got it right.”
But, it is only by chance that they actually make a correct decision. You see, to truly succeed, they must divine what every man, woman, child, business, corporation, investor, fund, speculator, government, nation, group, and natural force will do today, tomorrow, next week, and on into the future. By its very definition this is an impossible task, but prognostication is only part of the job.
Once the money masters compile their assumptions about assumptions, they must attempt to guide their ship down a narrow channel bounded on one side by confidence in the money they create and destroy, and on the other side by investments they have made in the infamously ravenous governments of the world. Any errors in navigation will take months to detect and years to correct.
If the money masters of the central bank create money faster than the rate of growth of domestic production, prices for goods and services will rise and that money will flow to other nations to buy their less expensive goods. Deluged with a surplus of that currency, foreign monetary exchanges discount it, which inflates the prices of foreign goods in terms of that currency.
The impossible task of predicting how many computers will be sold, how many houses will be built, and how fruitful the farmer’s field will be is further complicated by a government that spends more than it takes in. If the government issues more bonds than the money masters predicted, the central bank has to purchase those excess bonds to protect its previous investments. The supposedly omniscient money masters have to create more money than they intended to pay for them.
If the poor man gets a raise next year, he may, again, be able to afford the goods he could earlier this year. If not, his standard of living is continually decreased. Meanwhile, the government spends the newly-created money with wealthier corporations and individuals, giving them the benefit of using the money before prices become inflated.