by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Know-nothing pundits and politicians have been communicating to Americans that inflation is, like the weather, a mystery they can’t control. That’s simply not true, write three economic commentators in a soon-published book, “Inflation: What It Is, Why It’s Bad, And How to Fix It.” On the contrary: inflation is a direct result of governments cheating their people, and solving it is pretty simple, if politically difficult.
In the book, businessman Steve Forbes, economist Nathan Lewis, and business journalist Elizabeth Ames give laypeople a concise, readable introduction to monetary policy. They also lay out easy-to-understand policy and personal prescriptions for responding to an inflationary economy such as today’s. The book is short and immensely useful for those of us who are not economic experts or finance minds and just want politicians to stop stealing our hard-earned money and endangering our nation’s security.
It would also be useful to members of Congress and other government officials with the authority to address what especially for the poorest Americans is a frightful economic situation. The authors lay out a one-year plan for stopping inflation in its tracks based on historical and international experience.
In the course of explaining what inflation is and how it works, the authors make the important point that it’s not just about money. Inflation is deeply connected to societal flourishing in general. Societies in which inflation is rampant are often unstable, chaotic, and violent.
“Markets are people,” the authors write. “When money is no longer a reliable unit of value, not only trade but social relationships ultimately unravel. Nations afflicted by extreme inflation end up experiencing higher levels of crime, corruption, and social unrest. As we have seen throughout history, the end result can be a tragic turn to strongmen and dictators.”