Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Von Mises on the Moral Implications of Inflation

Ludwig Von Mises published Human Action in 1949, but this sounds quite relevant today:

The boom produces impoverishment. But still more disastrous are its moral ravages. It makes people despondent and dispirited. The more optimistic they were under the illusory prosperity of the boom, the greater is their despair and their feeling of frustration. The individual is always ready to ascribe his good luck to his own efficiency and to take it as a well-deserved reward for his talent, application, and probity. But reverses of fortune he always charges to other people, and most of all to the absurdity of social and political institutions. He does not blame the authorities for having fostered the boom. He reviles them for the inevitable collapse. In the opinion of the public, more inflation and more credit expansion are the only remedy against the evils which inflation and credit expansion have brought about. (Human Action, p. 576)

By the way, you can read Human Action on line at the Von Mises Institute's web site.

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