exercises in compound storytelling

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

deflation, hyperinflation, etc.

PhotonQ-What Is Ignorance ?Image by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via FlickrIn my little corner of the world the various news sources have been wringing their hands over the musings of Peter Schiff, Nassim Taleb, Jim Rogers, and someone named David McAlvany, all either long volatility (Taleb), gold bugs (Schiff, McAlvany), or recently invested in food/gold and urging others to do the same (Rogers), and all talking about hyperinflation.

Today NPR's Planet Money featured someone named Maria Fiorini Ramirez on to talk about deflation, pointing out that oil prices are falling, house prices are falling, and wringing their hands over the fact that central planning doesn't offer much as an antidote against deflation.

There's fear on both sides: at the moment I'd be tempted to claim that the deflationary fears are due to short-to-medium-term concerns (bubbles in oil and houses, bad mortgages), but the hyperinflationary fears have more to do with the aftermath of the bailout: the people pushing this story insist the Federal government will have to increase the money supply ("print money") to cover obligations from buying devalued assets.

Beats me either way. I'm waiting to see who steps up as Treasury Secretary as part of President-Elect Obama's transition team.

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