Inflation is bad when it’s allowed to get out of control. Hyperinflation is worse, something Jim Rickards defined as “when prices increase 50% or more in a single month.”
And once that horse is out of the barn, things can get really dicey, really fast. For example, out-of-control hyperinflation happened in the Weimar Republic just before World War II.
Here’s an idea of what hyperinflation looked like during the Weimar era in Germany: A loaf of bread in Berlin that cost around 160 Marks at the end of 1922 cost 200,000,000,000 Marks by late 1923. By November 1923, the US dollar was worth 4,210,500,000,000 German marks.
The image on the right shows stacks of “Notgeld” ready for distribution because the state couldn’t print bank notes fast enough. (Starting to sound familiar)?
To put this in perspective today, imagine a loaf of bread costing $10,000 in the U.S. Imagine being willing to pay that much because the bread was more valuable to you than the cash. In fact, there is a widely circulated story of a woman in Venezuela who took a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy bread-and upon exiting the store found that the cash was on the ground and the wheelbarrow stolen.
Citizens in the U.S. might think that $50.00 for a gallon of gas would be impossible. But citizens of Weimar-era Germany probably thought that too, before their currency ended up becoming close to worthless for about nine years.
Could we be looking at fifty-dollar gas in the next couple of years? One man thinks so. In a now-deleted Tweet storm, infamous “Big Short” investor Michael Burry warned that the U.S. is headed straight for Weimar-style hyperinflation.
According to Burry: “[…] all the marks that existed in the world in the summer of 1922 were not worth enough, by November of 1923, to buy a single newspaper or a tram ticket.”
That means there was so much money in circulation that it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. That’s exactly what could happen in the U.S. if hyperinflation happens.
In a now-deleted tweet, Burry explained how the U.S. is laying the groundwork for what could be catastrophic times to come:
The US government is inviting inflation with its MMT-tinged policies. Brisk Debt/GDP, M2 increases while retail sales, PMI stage V recovery. Trillions more stimulus & reopening to boost demand as employee and supply chain costs skyrocket. #Paradigm shift https://t.co/kNT4memOVt pic.twitter.com/Bdw1CDn3Yf
— Cassandra (@michaeljburry) February 20, 2021
If you couldn’t buy a “tram ticket” in 1923, during a similar hyperinflationary period today you wouldn’t even be able to buy an airplane ticket, no matter how many U.S. dollars you had.
(By the way, that’s a good reason to hug your gold, if you have any.)
And if you think this outrageous inflation will take many years to develop, please be aware that … it happens blisteringly fast/
Here’s why: Inflation speeds up over time as it’s a geometric process. Jim Rickards explains how this happens: “As inflation velocity spikes up, expectations of more inflation grow, and the process accelerates and feeds on itself.”
Once hyperinflation sets in, it’s too late for you to react. Rickards lays out the potential case for a U.S. dollar that’s worth nothing more than kindling:
“The monthly 50% increase soon becomes 100%, then 1,000%, etc., until the real value of the currency is utterly destroyed. Beyond that point, the currency ceases to function as a currency and becomes litter, good only for wallpaper or starting fires.”
When that scale of hyperinflation happens, society starts to collapse fairly quickly. Increased starvation, depression, suicide, and other forms of strife persist until things settle down.
After a few years of “warm up” inflation in Weimar, two years of peak inflation followed. Currently, the dollar is the global reserve currency due to the size of the U.S. economy. But things may change quickly. Even a non-rocket scientist can imagine how a dollar collapse could cause financial tsunamis.
At this point, I don’t think that it’s reasonable to assume that our masters are unaware. Or that they don’t know what’s coming.