I hesitate to ask this question because I’ve found that when speaking from voice of experience, you guys are brilliant. But when we’re talking hypotheticals … well, we’re talking hypotheticals and sometimes all of us merely repeat freedomista cliches.
But here’s the question: What do you think you’d do in a hyperinflation?
I’m not talking about some post-apocalyptic George Romero scenario where starving urbanites are crawling through your windows in search of your stash of freeze-dried potato dices and fruit galaxy. I’m talking about getting along — as people did in Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, and most other places when their currency went to toilet paper on them.
I’m talking about getting a paycheck. Paying the bills. Buying or bartering for the everyday things you need. How would you keep the lights and heat on in the house? What would you give up first as things began to become too expensive to bear? Do you have the sort of income that might rise as prices do, or would you be stuck with a fixed income? What would you sell? Do you anticipate being able to pay off long-term debt with useless dollars? That sort of thing. How do you think a currency collapse would affect relationships between you and your neighbors, your family, your employer?
I’ve been thinking about this lately not just because of what John Williams and Silver wrote recently. But because … well, you know this economic mess isn’t going to end gracefully, and hyperinflation is one of only a handful of ways out — perhaps the easiest way for a government with lots of printing presses, computers, and “helicopters.”
Personally, I’ve prepped for it about as well as I’m able. But I wonder about many things. For instance, most of my income is from magazines whose subscription prices and ad rates are not at all flexible in the short term. If inflation started running away, they wouldn’t be in any position to generate fast extra revenue to pay their writers and printers and the post office more. But surely a lot of people and businesses are in that fix; they’d develop ways to cope and go on. But what ways?
Another thing I wonder about is the morality of paying the mortgage with “cheap” money. I make a fixed payment at a fixed rate. If the mortgage holder was a megabank — the sort that would happily suck its customers dry then turn to the taxpayers for more suckitude — it could be a gleeful thing to pay it back using dollars that wouldn’t even buy a stick of gum. But my mortgage is owed to the former owners of the house — ordinary people like you and me just getting by. Paying them in worthless dollars seems immoral.
From all I’ve read about hyperinflations (especially Erich Maria Remarque’s been-there-done-that novel of Weimar, The Black Obelisk), morality utterly goes out the window, anyhow. Zombies may not come in the window during a hyperinflation, but cynicism reigns and it becomes every person for himself.