The title of this article is a quotation from the book "Before the Deluge" by Otto Friedrich, examining the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic in the 1920's, and how that paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler.
It's a very good book, and worth reading. I may publish an excerpt or two from it in my "Saturday Snippet" series in the not too distant future.
I was reminded of the book when it was cited in an article titled "How Inflation Precipitates Societal Collapse". Here are a few excerpts.
In the early Republic of Rome, the Roman State engaged in a policy of territorial expansion and with each conquest of a neighboring region the State plundered the defeated empire’s treasury and increased its own hoard. However, after suffering defeat against the Germans in 9 A.D., Emperor Augustus terminated the policy of expansion and the flow of wealth from foreign lands ceased. Augustus, and the emperors who followed, thus faced insufficient revenue. Taxes could only be raised so much without whipping up the sands of revolt, and so, as Joseph Tainter explains:
“When extraordinary expenses arose the supply of coinage was frequently insufficient. To counter this problem, Nero began in 64 A.D. a policy that subsequent emperors found increasingly irresistible.”
Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies
This policy involved debasing the value of the standard Roman silver coin, the denarius, by infusing it with cheap metals such as copper, and “clipping” both gold and silver coins, or in other words, reducing the size of them. The excess precious metal obtained from clipping and debasing coins was then used to create more coins, and with these newly minted coins the Roman State covered its debts and expenses and fattened the pockets of statesmen and political insiders.
The modern equivalent of this policy is the expansion of the supply of paper, or digital, money. However, whether one debases and clips coins in order to create more coins, prints more paper money, or adds digits to an account held with a central bank, the result is the same – monetary inflation. The quantity of money is increased, and all other things equal, this leads to price inflation and a rise in the cost of living.
. . .
The story of Rome contains often neglected, but important lessons. One of these lessons is that when a government, or banking elite, claims the right to expand the supply of money without limits, it plays with a fire that can quickly spiral out of control and end in economic ruin, revolution, or even outright societal collapse.
There's more at the link.
I recommend reading the article in full, and comparing the historical incidents it describes to what we're seeing from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury in our own time. The parallels are unmistakeable, and very scary.
I speak from personal experience in dealing with out-of-control inflation. Not only did I live in a permanently double-digit inflationary economy in South Africa during the 1970's and 1980's, but I was one border away from Zimbabwe and its hyperinflation of the early 2000's. By then I was living in America, but I'd seen all the precursors to the hyperinflation there during the 1980's and 1990's, and it came as no surprise. Based on that experience, I predict that unless we radically and quickly change course, we're headed down the same road. Look at any episode of hyperinflation in history, and compare what caused it then to our economic policies now, and there's no mistaking what's coming.
If anyone says I'm wrong, or the economists who are increasingly drawing attention to those parallels are wrong . . . ask them whether they've studied history. If they blithely cite "modern monetary theory" instead, you'll know they're charlatans and liars who have no idea what they're talking about. Listen to those who lived through such times, and learn from them, and prepare yourselves accordingly, to the extent that you can.