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Sunday, May 22, 2016
Paradox of the Bell Curve. Debasement causes deflation
Posted May 22, 2016 by Martin Armstrong
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; On the one hand you show the debasement of the Roman currency, but then you say there was also massive hoarding and deflation. Can you explain how do you get deflation with debasement?
Thank you for the the mind food
ANSWER: It may seem to be a paradox, but everything unfolds like a bell curve. This is why you do not get the same result by simply moving in a straight line. This is the same thing we are experiencing currently under Quantitative Easing by central banks. We have increased the money supply, but we are also moving toward negative interest rates and this promotes hoarding. People have not been investing. They have been sitting on the sidelines trying to figure out what to do.
Sir Thomas Gresham made the observation that debasing the currency results in bad money drives out good. But what does that really mean? What he is saying is that people then start hoarding the old money. It may be a paradox, but debasement does not cause hyperinflation, it causes deflation because the vast money supply that was circulating is hoarded. Therefore, the government needs to further debase desperately trying to keep a sufficient degree of money in circulation. The more it debases, the more people hoard. As people hoard, they contract from commerce and GDP contracts. This results is a reduction in tax revenue, which then causes government to further debase to make up shortfalls in revenue.
When you then introduce a collapse in confidence within government, then if people no longer “feel” secure, they then hoard even the based currency. This is why we find so many hoards of debased Roman currency during the chaotic 3rd century.
It is a curious paradox. Right now, people are hoarding as are the banks and corporations. It is hard to hoard paper currency for you will not be able to distinguish between old and new. This means that the hoarding will migrate to tangible assets, shares, gold, silver, and antiquities.