A taste of hyperinflation

image by Paolo Camera

With gas prices rising AGAIN, I wanted to re-post this article from 2011. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Wheelbarrows full of German marks and stacks of Zimbabwean dollars paint a surreal and absurd picture of economies gone bad.  It could never happen here in America.  Right?  Well, I think we got a taste of hyperinflation recently when gasoline prices increased on a near-daily basis.  What did it feel like to see the price per gallon increase from the time you drove to work in the morning until you passed that same gas station on the way home from work at five o’clock?  If you were smart, you filled up your tank every time you saw the price dip and maybe even filled an extra gas can at $3.69 a gallon, knowing that tomorrow it would probably cost even more.

Daily price increases of gasoline are bad enough, but imagine trying to survive in a world where prices of virtually every good increases on a daily basis.  During times of hyperinflation, wages do not increase at the same rate as everything else, so a family that is used to spending 10% of its income on food, for example, would find that percentage increasing to 40%, 50% and more.  There would be very little left for paying utility bills, medical expenses, or even tiny luxuries.

History Learning Site describes the effects of hyperinflation on Germans in 1923.

People were paid by the hour and rushed to pass money to loved ones so that it could be spent before its value meant it was worthless.
People had to shop with wheel barrows full of money
Bartering became common – exchanging something for something else but not accepting money for it. Bartering had been common in Medieval times!
Pensioners on fixed incomes suffered as pensions became worthless.
Restaurants did not print menus as by the time food arrived…the price had gone up!
The poor became even poorer and the winter of 1923 meant that many lived in freezing conditions burning furniture to get some heat.
The very rich suffered least because they had sufficient contacts to get food etc. Most of the very rich were land owners and could produce food on their own estates.
The group that suffered a great deal – proportional to their income – was the middle class. Their hard earned savings disappeared overnight. They did not have the wealth or land to fall back on as the rich had. Many middle class families had to sell family heirlooms to survive.”

It’s easy to see these same effects happening here in our country, or in any other whose government follows the disastrous financial recipe of over-spending and printing money (“Quantitative Easing”), resulting in the loss of confidence in the dollar, our fiat currency.

Surviving hyperinflation isn’t easy.  It seems that skyrocketing prices of food and energy have the biggest negative effect on everyday citizens.  It makes sense, therefore, to grow, raise, and preserve your own food as much as possible and to look for ways you and your family could live off the grid as much as possible.  Owning physical gold and silver is wise, as is establishing contacts with a network of like-minded people.  After all, who is more likely to have what you need in a bartering transaction than another prepper?

Most of us don’t own “estates”, but we do have the advantage of learning from history and being smart enough to take proactive steps to protect our families against the devastation of hyperinflation now.  If you didn’t like the taste of hyperinflation we’ve had with our rapidly rising gas prices, the time to take action is now.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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  1. Sierra Dave says

    I don't think modern society will be as fluid as Wiemar Germany. Human resource departments and corporations will slow down the ability to negotiate a new wage in a timely manner.

    Small businesses on the other hand will be more dynamic and able to adjust as the situation changes.

    There is also the problem that current America has a limited amount of printers whereas 1920 Germany had thousands of banks printing up money locally and disbursing it.

    Inflation and hyperinflation are possible, but it will probably play out differently seeing as most of the money being printed up is not making its way quickly to the average person.

    I lean towards a failure of the Dollar as foreign governments lose confidence in it. Triggering a bank holiday.

    When the banks close and people cannot use their ATM cards to get food. It will trigger a huge panic. Food and gas stores will be cash only. The movement of all goods will be disrupted. With Just in Time shipping, businesses will be emptied in a day. That's when it gets real nasty. As people riot over food.

    Sierra Dave


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