Now That’s Hyperinflation

Over the next week, you’re going to hear a lot about how high prices are, how much more a turkey dinner cost than a year ago. But when you hear somebody, say the word “hyperinflation”, remember this picture:

Figure 1: Month on month headline CPI inflation for US (blue), Brazil (light green), Russia (red), all in percent per month. Cagan’s definition of hyperinflation (red dashed line at 50%). Source: BLS via FRED, Ha, Kose, Ohnsorge, and author’s calculations.

What about the oft-cited example of 1920’s Germany. We don’t have inflation rates measured against a bundle of consumption goods, but we do have a depreciation rate of the Reichsmark against the “gold” mark:

Figure 2: Month-on-month depreciation of Reichsmark against “gold” mark (blue dots and line). All 1923 observations approximate since data pertain to varying days in each month. Cagan’s definition of hyperinflation (red dashed line at 50%). Source: W.C. Fisher/Wikipedia,  and author’s calculations.


137 thoughts on “Now That’s Hyperinflation

    1. baffling

      was listening to bloomberg this morning. several comments about container index etc were down, indicating longer term inflation was not really in the cards. we don’t see it in the bond market either. and if nasdaq is supposed to be sensitive to rising rates, it being at all time high levels does not indicate longer term inflation either. looks like those supply chain issues are slowly clearing up.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Econned: Would have, but it’s not in the Ha, Kose, Ohnsorge database for that period, and I didn’t have time to hunt down the relevant series.

    2. Barkley Rosser


      Oh, you have students? These are seventh graders studying Underwater Basket Weaving that you studied at the same Mystery University where your role model, CoRev, got his Womens’ Studies degree?

      Oh, and when the baskets your students make are not quite in line, or in “their” lane, do you drop houses on them after they leave class? That’ll teach ’em.

      1. pgl

        One might say you are being harsh but look at the materials he gives his “students” when discussing inflation – the restaurant receipt for one person for one meal. Seriously? Is it show and tell time for the kiddies?

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Now now, given that his students study Underwater Basket Weaving, of course they are concerned about the price of water. If it gets too expensive, where will they do their basket weaving? Tsk tsk. At this rate you are likely to join the set of people who had better watch out about having a house drop on your head, pgl!

          1. pgl

            I’m wondering if Econned even gets the water-diamond paradox. It is a classic economic query but maybe the logic escapes poor Econned.

        2. Econned

          Jeez, are you this infatuated with me? PaGLiacci is back again. Yes, that’s the only bit of info – it’s that picture and the word “hyperinflation”.

      2. Econned

        The lack of class from Barkley Rosser never ends. It’s either that or the dementia that drives these posts. And I’m sure he or others will say that I’m the one who is in the wrong.

        And why does he continually harass CoRev? I’m not certain I’ve more than a handful of interactions with CoRev but Barkley makes senseless comments such as these.

        Get a life, some dignity, and maybe an Rx for some Cholinesterase inhibitors, you old man.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Oooh, “lack of class” coming from “Econned.” LOL.

          Go ahead, buster, show up like challenged at JMU on March 23, and tell all these people who know me very well and work with me, along with Nobel Prize winner, Vernon Smith, who also knows me very well, that based on you being this expert on all sorts of things have based on your observations of me on the blog Econbrowser know and have repeatedly reported here that 1) I repeatedly lie, 2) that I am seriously senile, 3) that I should be taken to a “facility” for “help” ASAP, and 4) and that because I was “out of lane” with something you said, I should have a house dropped on my head. You do that. Of course, the assembled audience will erupt in joy at you finally expressing what they have all known for years but were afraid to say, and a delegation of representatives of the Taxpayers Of Virginia will probably appear to also applaud. I shall then be appropriately dragged off to wherever. Who knows? They might even offer you my job, given how good you are at teaching Underwater Basket Weaving.

          As for CoRev, the real question is why do you defend him? Oh, we know why. While he is utterly and totally reviled by absolutely everybody else here for his repeated lies and goal post moving, he is indeed your role model, you doing the exact same things over and over and over, indeed, in a more nauseating fashion than he does. Please do not try to tell us that you are so stupid that you do not understand this. Or maybe you too have gotten an unknown number of medals for participating in the Apollo mission while being the world’s leading expert on the soybean futures market as well as on atmospheric physical chemistry, all of this with a degree in Womens’ Studies from Mystery University.

          1. Econned

            You’re infatuation with me is borderline scary. You are attacking and harassing me completely unprovoked. It doesn’t bother me other than the fact that it shows you’re a hypocrite. Again. Why aren’t you capable of discussing the topics at hand? Why must you harass (per your and Menzie’s concept) me? This is why you lack class and/or have dementia. Just think rationally about your comments here.

            I haven’t “defended” CoRev other than to agree that you lie. That because… you lie. Again, it’s one of the few times I’ve ever interacted with CoRev so you’re out of place. Again.

          2. CoRev

            Barkley, your jealousy is soooo obvious. You too can get a degree in Women’s Study and/or Underwater Basket Weaving. /Sarc/ (Sarcasm used even though it will go over Jrs head.)

          3. Barkley Rosser


            Oh gosh, CoRev, you are right! I am just soooooo jealous of your degree in Womens’ Studies from Mystery University! You got me!

            I shall simply note that indeed I think we all understood you were being sarcastic when you provided that claim at one point. I shall further note that it was made in reply to Menzie Chinn seriously asking you what your educational background was and what your credentials were for making all sorts of off-the-wall claims that you were making. And that was what you gave. Do you understand why nobody here except for maybe your devoted follower, “Econned,” takes you seriously? And I think even he knows enough not to take the content of what you say seriously. He just admires and imitates your style of endlessly going on and on while changing your argument.

          4. CoRev

            Barkley Jr claims: ” Do you understand why nobody here except for … takes you seriously? And I think even he knows enough not to take the content of what you say seriously. He just admires and imitates your style …” He makes this claim while responding to another of my serious comments. Tsk, tsk!

        2. Barkley Rosser


          Oh, I have probably overstated one point. I think there are some people who will defend our dear old CoRev on some points he has made over time here, even if they realize he has made rather a fool of himself on many occasions. But I do not think there is anybody at all, with the possible exception of him, who will do likewise for you.

          1. Econned

            This shows your subjective and bias mindset. You’re a disingenuous and disgraceful “thinker” unable to bring rational and meaningful discussion to these threads.

            Also, I was wondering if you have anything to do on March 23? The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin have a virtual conversations support group. If you’re free that day, it might be beneficial. Check your calendar – the session begins at 10am.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            There you go again, lying. You just cannot stop, can you?

            I understand that someone else here started this meme about me being senile, so it is not just something you made up out of thin air. But I note that other person also initially tied the claim to one about Biden and Pelosi also being senile, with Menzie openly mocking that latter claim. She may have bungled by publicly eating fancy ice cream, but she has now gotten three major Biden economics bills through the House, where the Dems have only a four vote margin and substantial disagreements among themselves. One of those is still waiting to get through the Senate. Yes, clear evidence of massive senility on her part.

            I confess I would have left you alone on this thread if you had not mentioned “students,” an obvious ploy to give yourself some of the credibility that you totally lack. If you actually want to be serious, rather than just sarcastic (which I know your house dropping meme was, and maybe even this senility one that you keep pushing hard when you have nothing else to defend yourself with), then how about telling us what level and what course these students were/are in? You can do that without revealing your all-important secret identity. I mean, if they are in an advanced grad macro theory course at a top 7 program, well, then maybe you are in a position to mock Menzie Chinn.

            Of course, you can be sarcastic. After all, when your role model, CoRev, told us he got a degree in Womens’ Studies from Mystery University, he seems to have presumed that we would all know that actually he got a PhD in physics from Princeton. That would explain how he knows so much more about atmospheric physical chemistry than all those scientists publishing refereed journal articles on the subject.

          3. Econned


            You’re irrelevant comment on Biden/Pelosi supports the need for you to seek help regarding your declining mental state. I’ve never once in my life referred to those two as senile and your paragraph regarding someone else making such an assertion is strange at best.

            Why are you harassing CoRev? You hypocrite. Again, I’ve hardly ever communicated with CoRev so your continual referencing me with him is I affecting other than to point out your hypocrisy.

            As to the student comment; explain in detail how that is relevant at all to your unprovoked attack in this thread? And how did I mock Menzie in my comment? I simply suggested he should include Zimbabwe for effect. Is that mocking? If so, you are extremely sensitive… or it’s more likely you’re a senile old man who holds ridiculous grudges with unknown personas in an attempt to boost a shattered ego. Notice it’s you who provokes – I just keep the ball rolling.

            Again… March 23 at 10am. Unless you’re on a date with a winner of the Fields Prize, a Grammy, Crafoord Prize, an NBA mvp, Pulitzer, or wtf-ever… there’s an online support group convo held by The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin. Please check your calendar.

      3. Baffling

        Econned does not have students today. He may have had some during his failed bid for tenure, but we all know how that turned out.

          1. Baffling

            Thats why your student comment was fraudulent. You added that detail to try to bring some integrity and authority to your statement. But it was a fraudulent statement. You could not hold a tenured academic position at a respectable institution. I hear there is a new one forming in austin that may be right up your alley-consider that some career advice from a friend.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            I am waiting to see if anybody other than the nearly universally reviled CoRev will step forward to defend you or agree with anything you have said here. Anybody? Come on, folks, step right up and support our poor put-upon “Econned”!

            I got on your case again because, of course, in our last round you could not resist adding another round full of lies I did not respond to, as you always do, inveterate lying goalpost-mover and imitator of CoRev.

            The real reason I am super down on your case is that you went over a very sharp line and did not take yourself back over it again, although I am sure you think you did, you are so stupid. That was seriously insulting for no good reason our co-host Menzie Chinn. You did issue an “apology,” but then proceeded to completely undercut it, putting in an “if” and a lot of other garbage of your usually worrthless sort. Sorry, buster, an apology with an “if” in it is not an apology. You need to leave here and not return.

          3. Econned


            You’re a joke about “ seriously insulting for no good reason our co-host Menzie Chinn”. I asked him a question and you and he got overly sensitive. Moreover, it’s nothing to do with you. I stand by this fallacious “serious insulting” because it is untrue. I also standby my apologies because; whether untrue or not, Menzie’s feelings were hurt. The two are not mutually exclusive. But still, you’re doing what you claim I did. You’re a senile. hypocrite.

            As to the lies, you don’t respond because you know your lying/misrepresentations/mistakes are endemic.

  1. rsm

    What if I get a Wall Street Vegans group together, and we gamma squeeze turkey futures to $infinity, to send you a price signal you can’t ignore?

    1. ltr

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo, 1971-2020

      (Percent change)

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo, 1971-2020

      (Indexed to 1971)

      [ Republic of Zaire, which experienced hyperinflation, was for several years what was and is again Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly a colony of Belgium. ]

      1. pgl

        OK – the DRC’s real income per capita has not risen in the same way China’s has. Do you even know what their main source of export revenues is?

        Copper by far. Copper exported to China at what some who should know at intercompany prices far below market prices.

        So thanks for this opportunity to note the multinationals serving the appetite for copper imports for China have used transfer pricing manipulation to keep the residents of the DRC impoverished.

      1. Macroduck

        What we have here is a failure to differentiate. There are behaviors and there are definitions (including “accounting identities”). Voters (in their secret identity as consumers) determine the saving rate, some marginal rates of substitution, profit margins and inflation rates. Stevie hasn’t learned to differentiate the many, many things which voters do determine (including, but only in a limited way, election results), from things that are determined by the brothers of Noah Webster.

        I despair over the state of education sometimes.

      2. Bruce Hall

        There’s a bit of attempted distraction here. No one from any source I’ve read recently is claiming that we are experiencing “hyperinflation”. But higher inflation is a concern to many… including economists with whom, apparently, you disagree.

        It may be “transitory”; i.e., lasting a year or so or it may become a fixture with the huge influx of government spending.
        I know, I know, the interview was on Fox News so it isn’t credible. But other sources have similar stories:

        But the White House is adamant that the more the government spends, the better off we’ll be. It is also adamant that the CBO has no idea what it’s talking about in terms of cost.

        Regardless, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Turkey is still affordable. But stay away from the prime rib. Even on sale it’s over $21/lb. … at Costco. Seems a bit higher than I remember a little while ago.,-7-lbs.product.100404305.html

        1. macroduck

          Brucey, you’ve returned with a glorious flourish of dishonesty after a long time away. Did you think we’d forgotten your distaste for the truth?

          So, find where Menzie said people would clqim we are experiencing hyperinflation. You can’t, ’cause he didn’t, but you implied that he did. Menzie also did jot claim that you personally would run into past claims of current hyperinflation. The “you” he addressed was his readers in general. You personally don’t matter.

          But heck, if your reading is so limited tha you haven’t seen any discussion of hyperinflation in the future, allow me to help:

          Nice try, Brucey, but carefully hedged lies are still lies.

        2. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall I don’t think anyone seriously believes that infrastructure spending will lead to higher inflation. If anything it will push out the aggregate supply curve and ease any inflationary pressures. As to the Build Back Better bill that is still stuck in Congress, I’d be hard pressed to call that a “huge influx of government spending.” Even using CBO’s estimate of a $367B increase in the deficit over 10 years, that only amounts to 0.16% of current GDP per year. And CBO’s estimate does not include any increased revenue from tighter tax enforcement. And most of that bill will also increase future productivity, unlike Trump’s disastrous 2017 tax cuts for the rich and tax hikes for everyone else.

          But higher inflation is a concern to many

          Higher than what? If you’re talking about a long run inflation rate of 6 percent, then yes that would be a concern. But if you’re talking about a long run inflation rate of 3 percent rather than the Fed’s target of 2 percent, then I say “Hallelujah.” That 2 percent target was always too low and didn’t give the Fed enough headspace to fight recessions.

        3. pgl

          No one is using the term hyperinflation? Seriously? Now the finally is another one of your patented bold faced lies:

          “But the White House is adamant that the more the government spends, the better off we’ll be. It is also adamant that the CBO has no idea what it’s talking about in terms of cost.”

          Make that two lies for the price of one!

        4. pgl

          Rattner? Come on Brucie boy – is that your idea of an economist? Now Rogoff used to be an economist but damn – an interview with Maria Bloated on Faux News? This is your idea of what most economists are saying? Excuse me while I fall on the floor laughing!

        5. baffling

          “It may be “transitory”; i.e., lasting a year or so or it may become a fixture with the huge influx of government spending.”
          bruce, i will ask you like others on this blog who are so worried about inflation. put a number on it. tell me what level of inflation is problematic, and for how long. you will probably be like the others, and remain silent. because once you are forced to quantify your concern, it will be easy to show your numbers are not of concern. or unrealistic.

          it is irresponsible for anybody to be even hinting that we could have a problem with hyperinflation. we are not anywhere close to that being an issue. quit trying to equate inflation with hyperinflation.

    1. Steven Kopits

      The definition of hyper-inflation, as I understand it, is arbitrary. Cagan uses 50% per month, or about 13,000% per year. So is 33% per month — a 30 fold increase in prices over a year — is not hyperinflation? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it is, by any reasonable measure.

      But we lack any objective metric by which to use the term ‘hyper’. There are some one could think of. For example, when my mother worked as a secretary in Buenos Aires in the 1950s, should would run out as soon a she received her pay and bought gold, which would be sold back over the next few weeks to buy groceries.

      When I was in BA in 1989, I walked into a leather goods store and expressed an interest in buying a pair of shoes. The clerk replied, “Oh, they’re not for sale.”
      I asked, “So, these are floor samples and you have none in inventory?”
      “Oh, no,” she said, “We have plenty of inventory.”
      “Well, are you closed or not in service?” I asked.
      “No, we’re open.”
      “So why won’t you sell me a pair of shoes?”, I asked.
      “Because I don’t know what to charge you,” she said. “If we sell them today, we don’t know how much it will cost to replace them, so we’re not selling anything right now.”

      Well, that would seem to be a reasonable measure of hyper-inflation. Inflation in Argentina in 1989 was 2600%, or about 31% per month, way below Cagan’s definition.

      In any event, US economists are typically not well-versed in really high inflation, because they have never lived through it.

      A more pertinent question is the public’s tolerance for inflation. If Argentines experienced, say, 15% inflation in a year, they’d probably think that’s not too bad. On the other hand, inflation above 5% in the US, and well, economics blogs like Econbrowser will have post after post about inflation. As will the media. For the US public, inflation above 5% can be taken as ‘out of control’. That’s where we are today.

      As for the weirdly referenced other items.

      The definition of music, like art, is subjective. One man’s melody is another man’s cacophony. So, yes, that’s like the definition of hyperinflation — ultimately subjective.

      Science refers to a process of creating hypotheses, gathering data, and preparing analyses with the intent to falsify the hypothesis. Science is not policy, and it is rarely certainty. It is most definitely not ‘consensus’, whatever that means. It seems that most of economics today is advocacy rather than science, that is, targeting a solution and searching to find data to support that conclusion. It is literally the opposite of science and it is done quite a lot here.

      As for fascism. To define fascism, you first need to define conservatism, which you can’t. But if you could, then fascism would be defined as “the preference for or discrimination against an individual by a group or its members based on unalterable characteristics, most typically race and religion.” Here the interesting word in unalterable. Race is unalterable. But typically so is sex, age, and physical characteristics like height, skin color, etc. Therefore, by this definition, sexism and ageism are both subsets of fascism.

      Religion is interesting, because it is, strictly speaking, possible to change. But very few people do, and traditionally most people have a strong adherence to their religion. But it happens. There are other semi-solid dividers. For example, in My Fair Lady, the premise of the story revolves around the notion that one’s accent determines one’s destiny, and changing speech can change a person’s prospects. In any event, fascism refers to a positive or negative discrimination for or against a person based on unalterable characteristics. That’s a pretty straight-forward definition.

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Steven Kopits: I think a jackhammer is not music. I think my wife (the composer in the family) would have a more formal set of criteria for what is or is not music, one that doesn’t just say vox populi vox dei. (This is separate from “good music” vs. “bad music” which is a matter of taste.)

        1. Steven Kopits

          I understand that. I would consider my own tastes to be conventional. But it’s not hard to find some avant garde music that is, to me, unlistenable.

        2. Moses Herzog

          I’m going to assume your wife thinks Stephen Sondheim is good music and the YT music links I posted here when sauced on wine is bad music (It’s ok Menzie, you can “let me have it’ and swing hard, I’m poking fun of myself a little here).

          Damned Irish songwriters…….. Hammerstein was also half-Irish. What are the odds??

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Moses Herzog: I don’t let the YT videos be posted sometimes because I don’t have the time to go through them all to make sure they don’t contain material that might be offensive under the guidelines posted. There’s nothing like 15 YT links to make a moderator’s heart sink.

      2. macroduck


        Your assertion was tha voters would decide a thing. Voters will not be asked that thing on any ballot, so in their role as voters will not do what you said they will do.

        The thing you said they will do is decide on a definition of hyperinflation. Even if we put aside the reasonable restriction that voters are voters when yey vote and are other things when they aren’t voting, you have no evidence that they will know or care what hyperinflation is, much less attempt a definite. Heck, Brucey Hall is pretty sure nobody has ever even heard of hyperinflation.

        You engages in highly partisan hyperbolic nonsnee. When the dishonesty of your nonsense was pointed out, you wrote an essay about it. Not eure how that makes it better.

        You and Brucey should get together and decide on a particular fiction to spout. Contradictory fictions aren’t working for you.

        1. Steven Kopits

          Whoa there, Duckie.

          To say that deferring to the voters is somehow partisan is both wrong and disturbing. The voters may decide that high levels of inflation are fine. But they will decide, among other things, whether they accept recent or prospective levels of inflation.

          As for the ‘hyper’ thing: I don’t much like woolly terms, certainly not in economics. What makes ‘hyper’ hyper? Indeed, is there only one sort of ‘hyper’ inflation? If a store is open but not selling anything, is that the same as carting around wheelbarrows full of cash to buy a loaf of bread? Or is hyper inflation a level where voters decide it is fundamentally unacceptable in a political sense? Depends on what you mean, but you have to define some causal linkages if you want to make the ‘hyper’ case. And American economists suck at that, because so few of them have lived through any serious levels of inflation.

          1. Macroduck

            Nice try, Stevie, but putting a strawman in my mouth is distasteful. (Apologies to readers other than Stevie, but I couldn’t help myself.

            I realize that the right-wing echo chamber has normalized lying about what an opponent has said, but you are outside the echo chamber now.

            I didn’t say deferring to voters is partisan. I said voters won’t be asked to define “hyperinflation “. To imply otherwise is dishonest. You tried a bit of glib parts and nonsense and are now attempting to direct attention away from the failureofthat ninsense. You are defending yourinitial statement with lies and misdirection, which kinda says your initial statement can’t be defended otherwise. Not having it.

          2. pgl

            “To say that deferring to the voters is somehow partisan is both wrong and disturbing.”

            Excuse me but you brag about going onto Fox and Friends which is a show that routinely LIES to its audience. Come on Stevie pooh – you are clearly a partisan hack. So own up to it.

      3. pgl

        Why do you waste time writing such gibberish? I guess you miss your appearances with the cast of Fox and Friends.

      4. baffling

        “The voters will decide how hyperinflation is measured.” morphs into
        “For the US public, inflation above 5% can be taken as ‘out of control’. That’s where we are today.”
        steven, this is what is called a bait and switch argument. this is not simply misinformation, this is dishonest. you are equating 5% inflation as hyperinflation. this is absurd. if you want to be a respected public commentator on these topics, your job is to clarify and correct the public, not add to the misinformation-in a deliberate fashion.

        1. Macroduck

          “if you want to be a respected public commentator on these topics,…”

          Well there’s the problem right there.

        2. pgl

          OK – maybe the general price index is rising at 5% but remember Stevie’s entire diet is consuming bagels. So may his cost of living is rising a bit faster.

        3. Barkley Rosser

          Of course, given that the most rapidly rising part of the price index last month has recently been falling, if only slightly, namely gasoline prices, it is unlikely we shall see another month with that high of an inflation rate. This “hyperinflation” has almost certainly peaked, although it will take longer than predicted by many earlier this year to get the various supply shortages under sufficient control to get the inflation rate back down into the 2-3% range the Fed would prefer.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Most philosophers have viewed fascism as coming out of Right Hegelianism, not as a faction of Left Hegelianism. Want to cite anybody pushing this line you are pushing here?

    2. pgl

      I just saw where the Washington Examiner was praising you as some expert on immigration because you were hyping their racist fear mongering with your “model” forecasting the great wave of immigration ever. Oh my – BROWN people! Of course this data source suggests your grand forecast is your usual BS:,per%201000%20population%2C%20a%201.24%25%20decline%20from%202019.

      The Washington Examiner did not check the facts as they were all too happy to tout your latest racist garbage.

  2. ltr

    January 14, 2021

    ‘Colonialism had never really ended’: my life in the shadow of Cecil Rhodes
    After growing up in a Zimbabwe convulsed by the legacy of colonialism, when I got to Oxford I realised how many British people still failed to see how empire had shaped lives like mine – as well as their own
    By Simukai Chigudu – Guardian

    There was no single moment when I began to sense the long shadow that Cecil John Rhodes has cast over my life, or over the university where I am a professor, or over the ways of seeing the world shared by so many of us still living in the ruins of the British empire. But, looking back, it is clear that long before I arrived at Oxford as a student, long before I helped found the university’s Rhodes Must Fall movement, long before I even left Zimbabwe as a teenager, this man and everything he embodied had shaped the worlds through which I moved.

    I could start this story in 1867, when a boy named Erasmus Jacobs found a diamond the size of an acorn on the banks of the Orange river in what is now South Africa, sparking the diamond rush in which Rhodes first made his fortune. Or I could start it a century later, when my grandfather was murdered by security forces in the British colony of Rhodesia. Or I could start it today, when the infamous statue of Rhodes that peers down on to Oxford’s high street may finally be on the verge of being taken down.

    But for me, it starts most directly in January 1999, when I was 12 years old….

    1. ltr

      When referring to what Robert Mugabe “fueled,” brief reference might be made to what British colonial rule had meant for what would become Zimbabwe.

      1. Macroduck

        OK, then whenever you sing the praises of Lord Xi, you’ll be mentioning China’s Great Leap Forward, in which as many as 50 million people starved to death to satisfy the ego of Chaiman Mao? And you’ll never fail to mention China’s monstrous treatment of the Uighurs? Or China going to war with Vietnam in support of the Kmer Rouge?

        What’s good for British colonialists is good for Han hegemonic, yes?

        1. GREGORY BOTT

          60 million died during the 1860’s with British support despite having half the total population than in 1960. Beware your analogs.

      2. pgl

        Zimbabwe’s economy post British rule had been doing OK before Mugabe’s insane ideas of economic “reform”.

  3. pgl

    Saw this over at CNN:

    President Joe Biden on Monday formally announced his intent to nominate Jerome Powell to serve as the chairman of the Federal Reserve for a second term and nominate Lael Brainard to serve as the Fed’s vice chair.

    1. baffling

      not surprising. i think he is looking for continuity from the fed as we deal with this short term inflation issue. he has an understanding of how powell will act over the next year, and seems to be in agreement with that thinking. looks like he is setting up brainard to move into the post after this term is up. what surprised me was a comment that said she is the only democrat on the fed board. shocking.

      1. Macroduck

        It also allows Biden to demonstrate a belief in Powell’s (the Fed’s) view, which is politically helpful to Biden – Inflation is a pain in the neck and cannot be ignored, but let’s not do anything rash.

        Sometimes good policy and good politics go together.

        1. pgl

          The McConnell wing of the GOP endorsed this choice. I fully expect Tucker Carlson tonight to blast Biden for not picking Judy Shelton.

        2. paddy kivlin

          when i think of j powell being up with biden i think of st augustine of hippo:

          “Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo (Give me chastity and continence, but not just yet)!”

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            paddy kivlin: I think part of literature involves somewhat clearly what the meaning of the words is. I don’t know if I am particularly challenged in reading literature, but half of the time, I have no idea what you are trying to convey and so have taken to skipping completely.

          2. paddy kivlin

            shorter version: one day j powell may not be so welcome by the administration. i thought biden might ask him to resign…

            i like that quote from St Augustine.

            St Augustine was “confessing” a conversation he had leading to a big change in his life; a conversion. he was writing a sermon about conversion..

            Some day, j powell may need to make his conversion…. will he delay too long?

            St Augistine is the ‘thinking’ behind Christians” just war’ doctrine, which has been abused roundly over the millennia.

            i also like keynes’ quote about changing his mind….

          3. baffling

            “shorter version”
            correction, that was the longer version. the shorter version was much too vague about what you wanted to really say.
            at any rate, your comment about a concern biden should have for powell probably also applies to anybody else he would have nominated. at any rate, sometimes the devil you do know is better than the devil you don’t know.

  4. pgl

    Kevin Gough – the defense attorney for racist murderer Travis McMichael – is quite the BS artist. His closing argument was nothing more than utter BS. This clown wants us to believe that if a runner has some hick following him in a pickup truck, that the runner should be delighted by this threatening chase and engage his pursuer in polite conversation? Look I have been followed by motorists on my run and it is very scarer. And I’m not a black male being by some KKK hick with a shot gun. Good thing I was not in the court room as I would have started screaming all sorts of stuff at Kevin Gough.

    1. pgl

      Old man McMichaels has a woman attorney who is beyond racist. Let’s see the victim wore shorts but no socks on his run and had dirty toe nails. Heck – I wear shorts on my runs and often skip the socks. And at times my feet get muddy. That is life for any runner. I guess I deserve to be murdered for this behavior. Come on man!

    1. baffling

      steve was a big fan of zillow. well in feb 2021 zillow stock was over $200. on oct 29 it was $105. today it closed at $53. zillow did not wind down its online purchase arm because the housing market turned bearish. it wound down its online purchasing arm because the stock has been tanking for a year. why? probably because it was losing money in this online purchasing arm all year long. this is not to say the market cannot and will not eventually turn down. but zillow did not take action because of a market down turn. they shut down because their buying and selling algorithm has been crap for nearly a year.

      1. pgl

        “probably because it was losing money in this online purchasing arm all year long.”

        I checked Zillow’s 10-K filings which shows segment financials. Its house flipping segment also had operating losses in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

        I asked Princeton Steve to go to and check out actual data. But of course he spends his time listening to youtubes of that dude Brandon.

        1. baffling

          it only takes a little work to get past all the news headlines and better understand what happened with zillow. or all you needed to do was simply listen to their ceo a month ago. nothing from the company itself said a recent drop in housing prices is what drove them out of the business. they actually fessed up that it was poor algorithms, which did not work. it was a shame steven perpetuated misinformation on this item. i don’t think he did it out of malice. he did it out of ignorance, however, and a refusal to question his own worldview.

  5. pgl

    It wasn’t the Malice in the Palace but Lebron James decision to mug a young member of the Pistons almost created a really nasty affair. If Lebron is not suspended for at least one game – the NBA commissioner has no balls.

    Now what has Lebron said about this incident? Not a damn thing as he is hiding behind Anthony Davis.

  6. ltr

    CGTN @CGTNOfficial

    Russia-linked shipping company Transadria and one of its vessels are sanctioned by the U.S., said the U.S. Secretary of State @SecBlinken on Monday, a further sanction involved in Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

    7:08 PM · Nov 22, 2021

    [ This when Angela Merkel has completed her years as Chancellor and the United States is determined to make the operation of a gas pipeline to Germany impossible even in the midst of increasing gas needs in Germany. So much for Nord Stream 2, which Merkel had supported. ]

  7. ltr

    November 24, 2010

    Devaluing History
    By Paul Krugman

    Menzie Chinn * goes after Paul Ryan’s challenge: “Name me a nation in history that has prospered by devaluing its currency.” But why go back to the 1930s?

    How about:

    – Britain, which recovered strongly from its early 90s doldrums after it devalued the pound against the mark in 1992. (At the time, some wags suggested putting a statue of George Soros in Trafalgar Square.)

    – Sweden, which recovered from its early 90s banking crisis with an export boom, driven by a devalued kronor.

    – South Korea, which roared back from the 1997-1998 crisis with an export boom, driven by a depreciated won.

    – Argentina, which roared back from its 2002 crisis with an export boom, driven by a depreciated peso.

    And more. The truth is that every recovery from financial crisis I know of since World War II was driven by currency depreciation….


  8. ltr

    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for United Kingdom, South Africa and Zimbabwe, 1961-1979

    (Percent change)

    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for United Kingdom, South Africa and Zimbabwe, 1961-1979

    (Indexed to 1961)

    [ I prefer not to demean an African leader who managed to drive the British from violently-gained control of Zimbabwe. I do not think I have such an ethical or moral right. The Zimbabwe gained from the British was however still a White controlled plantation land, a land of landless impoverished Blacks, and what that meant in terms of development I am unsure. ]

    1. ltr

      Even the incomparable Nelson Mandela was unsuccessful in setting a free South Africa on a sustained development path, but because South Africa is free I am and will remain hopeful.

    2. pgl

      Noting Mugabe’s economic policies were a disaster is telling the truth. Something that has become foreign to you.

    3. ltr

      Sadly enough, I realize that I had forgotten that Zimbabwe was experiencing a devastating epidemic through the time of severe inflation. The epidemic was severely experienced all through southern Africa and had to have had significant and distorting impacts on economic policies and outcomes:

      January 15, 2018

      Life Expectancy at Birth for South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, 1980-2019

  9. joseph

    Fake economist and hedge fund manager Steven Rattner gets schooled on statistics by real economist Arindrajit Dube.

    Rattner, a la Reinhardt and Rogoff, tries to prove that pandemic deficit spending caused the current inflation using using an 8-point scatter plot of countries. Dube shows that eliminating just one data point turns the conclusion upside down. Further, if you include all OECD countries instead of just a cherry-picked eight, the claimed relationship disappears.

    Another good example of statistical abuse for Menzie Chinn’s classes.

    1. ltr

      November 17, 2021

      New York Times Gives Steven Rattner a Victory Lap on Inflation Prediction

      We’re getting a lot of “I told you so’s” on inflation in recent days. Yesterday, it was Larry Summers in the Washington Post, * today we get Steven Rattner in a New York Times column. ** Their story is that the 6.4 percent year over year inflation shown in the October CPI proves that their warnings about Biden’s recovery package being too large were correct….

    2. pgl

      Whenever Steven Rattner shows up on my TV, I turn the volume down. I was not aware of his N = 8 graph but the rebuttal is truly classic!

    3. ltr

      A matter that I think worth attention is that the United States has continually and repeatedly resorted to trade constraints and sanctions since the onset of the epidemic. I assume US constraints and economic sanctions had to increase prices to an extent. But where and to what extent?

  10. baffling

    on a more serious note, how would one characterize turkey recently? a modern day example of a central bank which is no longer independent. and out of control inflation. does it rate as hyperinflation, yet? not by the definitions we seem to have accepted. but a central bank which cuts interest rates while inflation is at 20% annually is heading that way. especially since the government is arguing rate cuts are the solution-and the bank is obliging. this seems to be a self inflicted situation.

  11. ltr

    I simply wrote this sentence:

    “When referring to what Robert Mugabe “fueled,” brief reference might be made to what British colonial rule had meant for what would become Zimbabwe.”

    What I wrote was only a carefully considered suggestion. I think the suggestion proper and important, if the intent is to study and understand Zimbabwe’s severe experience of inflation. Sustaining economic development has been very, very difficult through almost all of southern Africa, from Madagascar through Namibia. Botswana is the development exception.

    I simply made a temperate suggestion, and I am entirely pleased with my suggestion. A prominent economist at the University of California has for years been making just such suggestions about studying development economics.

  12. Anonymous

    Off topic, sorry. But Kemp has some interesting slides on the 2011 SPR release (to consider wrt last release):–%20A%20QUESTION%20OF%20PERCEPTION.pdf

    (Hope link works. Everyone following O&G should be signed up for John Kemp listserv. Lots of great info. Much more detailed than in released Reuters stories. But less academic (and dated) than econ literature. Sort of nice halfway point.)

  13. ltr

    October 30, 2021

    China’s Tibet sees GDP up 7.2 pct in Q1-Q3

    LHASA — The gross domestic product (GDP) of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region totaled 144.04 billion yuan (about 22.5 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2021, up 7.2 percent year on year, local authorities said Saturday.

    Despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, the region’s average GDP growth for the past two years reached 6.7 percent by the end of September, according to the regional statistics department.

    The value-added output of major industrial enterprises in Tibet increased by 13.8 percent year on year during the period, up 21.9 percent from the first three quarters of 2019.

    The region received 36.89 million domestic and overseas tourists in the first three quarters this year, up 15.2 percent year on year. Tourism revenue from January to September surged 26.6 percent from a year earlier to 42.4 billion yuan….

    [ Notice especially the nearly 37 million tourist visits to Tibet from January through September. Such visits will be growing markedly, with the opening of the high-speed rail line through Tibet. ]

    1. baffling

      tibet colonialism. china used to have an ambassador in tibet. military takeover eliminated the need for diplomacy between the two kingdoms.

  14. ltr

    November 22, 2021

    30 years on: China, ASEAN upgrade ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

    Since the establishment of dialogue relations 30 years ago, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have moved forward hand-in-hand with fruitful results in various fields, becoming a fine example of the most successful and vibrant bilateral relations in the Asia-Pacific.

    Upgrading this relationship, Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced the establishment of the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership. He made the announcement while chairing the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations via video link in Beijing on Monday morning.

    Calling it “a new milestone” in the history of the relations, he said the move will inject new impetus into peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and the world….

    [ From a trade pact to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Very, very important: China and ASEAN *

    * ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam ]

    1. baffling

      more links to “news” articles from the propaganda arm of the chinese communist party. just so readers on this blog understand the sources ltr provides, which are ccp run websites.

      1. JohnH

        What a callous remark. Sure the inflation rate falls, but overall prices don’t. If they did, the usual suspects, including economists, would start whining about deflation.

        1. Baffling

          Its not clear to me what action you propose to take in response to short term high inflation spikes. Please elaborate.

    1. pgl

      If you had even one ounce of integrity, you would produce a link such as this as opposed to some article by a dimwitted reporter looking for headlines:

      Yes this index, which is known to be volatile, rose by 8.6% over the past year. But from the summer of 2018 to the summer of 2020, it fell quite a lot.

      Now anyone with any integrity and any research skills would have noted that. But not JohnH!

      1. JohnH

        Who’s an idiot now? pgl linked to a chart showing price increases roughly 3x what was shown in the article I linked to and claimed that that was what I was referring to!!! Or is he just up to his usual BS of misrepresenting what people say?

        BTW here’s a graph showing inflation for the last millennium:

        As Piketty said in “Capital,” inflation is mostly a 20th century phenomenon…which economists somehow came to agree that it is essential for economic growth!!

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          JohnH: No, economists did not somehow come to agree that inflation was necessary for growth. At the business cycle frequency, inflation might arise as a by-product of a high-pressure economy. In the long run, if productivity growth is sufficiently fast, one can get deflation — although whether that deflation would be measured without quality adjusted price indices is a separate matter.

          Whom do you talk to that you count as economists? I am curious.

    2. ltr

      November 24, 2021

      The Inflation Miscalculation Complicating Biden’s Agenda
      Administration officials blame the Delta variant for a prolonged stretch of consumer spending on goods, rather than services, pushing up prices and creating a conundrum for the Fed.
      By Jim Tankersley

      WASHINGTON — President Biden’s top economists have worried from the beginning of his administration that rising inflation could hamstring the economy’s recovery from recession, along with his presidency. Last spring, Mr. Biden’s advisers made a forecasting error that helped turn their fears into reality, a calculation that spread to this week’s decision to renominate the Federal Reserve chair.

      Administration officials overestimated how quickly Americans would start spending money in restaurants and theme parks, and they underestimated how many people wanted to order new cars and couches.

      Mr. Biden’s advisers, along with economists and some scientists, believed that widespread availability of coronavirus vaccinations would speed the return to prepandemic life, one in which people dined out and filled hotel rooms for conferences, weddings and other in-person events.

      Instead, the emergence of the Delta variant of the virus over the summer and fall slowed that return to normalcy. Americans stayed at home, where they continued to buy goods online, straining global supply chains and sending the price of almost everything in the economy skyward….

  15. pgl

    Travis McMichael guilty on all 9 counts. Dad guilty on 8 of 9 counts. The other cracker guilty on 6 counts. This jury has done its job and now go enjoy their Thanksgiving.

  16. pgl

    OK – maybe the general price index is rising at 5% but remember Stevie’s entire diet is consuming bagels. So may his cost of living is rising a bit faster.

  17. ltr

    June 26, 2021

    Why Western political theories can’t explain success of century-old CPC
    By Gui Tao, Jiang Jiang, Wang Zichen and Li Zhihui

    BEIJING — At an altitude of 3,300 meters, Sonam Tsering offered a hada, a traditional Tibetan silk scarf that symbolizes purity and auspiciousness, to a guest who had come from afar — Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

    The Tibetan herdsman, whose family previously struggled to make ends meet in a mountainous rural village in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, now owns 80 sheep and 20 cattle thanks to poverty-alleviation subsidies and loans from the government.

    Sonam Tsering, who had bid farewell to his former home, a dilapidated adobe structure surrounded by uneven stone walls, welcomed Xi outside his new house…

  18. ltr

    Interestingly, Turkish administrators are stating that there will be no effort made to defend the value of the Lira. However, it has been evident for a while that there would be no defense.

    January 30, 2018

    Total Reserves excluding Gold as shares of Gross Domestic Product for Korea and Turkey, 2000-2020

  19. ltr

    Possibly I am missing a qualifying passage, but I remember Thomas Piketty writing * that inflation in the 20th century had come to be considered a useful way to pay down public debt:

    January 4, 2017

    Consumer Price Inflation in United Kingdom, 1800-2016

    * I have no reference

    1. ltr

      I also remember that during the later 1970s, the principal bond manager at Vanguard learned that bond holders could be protected from the effects of inflation by keeping constant duration portfolios. I believe John Bogle of Vanguard told the story. *

      * Again, I have no specific reference.

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