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North America’s first hyperinflation

Good (though derivative) article on America’s original collapsed currency — the infamous Continental.

What you’ve gotta love (or at least roll your eyes at) is how little has really changed in all these hundreds of years:

At first, the bills were accepted at face value. After all, they were issued by Patriots for Patriots. One ominous result, however, was that almost immediately all hard money disappeared. … Who wants to spend their guineas when paper is just as acceptable? The trouble was, of course, that paper wasn’t as acceptable and many merchants preferred real money to paper. In fact, this became so frequently the case that Congress had to pass a resolution in January. 1776 that “whoever should refuse to receive in payment Continental bills, should be declared and treated as an enemy of his country and be excluded from inter-course with its inhabitants.”

Legal tender laws, anyone? And …

One member of the Continental Congress was quoted as saying: “Do you think, gentlemen, that I will consent to load my constituents with taxes, when we can send to our printer and get a wagon load of money, one quire of which will pay for the whole?”

(Original source of those two passages: The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America)

And …

It is surely some kind of sociological law that the state always blames actors other than itself for the unpleasant consequences of its own activities. In some situations it even goes so far as to stigmatize people for not wanting to enter into transactions that would make them poorer — as when, for instance, they are expected to accept payment for their goods and services in severely depreciated currency.

“Persons who refused to sell their lands, houses, or merchandise for nearly worthless paper were stigmatized as misers, traitors, forestallers, and enemies of liberty,” wrote Charles Bullock in 1900, “but prices continued to rise, as the inflation of the currency proceeded apace.” George Washington condemned “the monopolizers, forestallers, and engrossers,” who he said should be hunted down as “pests of society” and “hanged upon a gallows.”

(Original source: Ludwig von Mises Institute)

And how about that old freedom-lovin’ George?

He may be the father of the U.S. and the general who won the Revolutionary War. But once he had political power he was NOT exactly a champion of liberty.

Anyhow, I print this whole ramble not for history’s sake. But more for preparedness.

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