Are predictions of global inflation just hot air?

Who cares?

Quite a lot of very cross people actually. These are the victims of the ongoing economic debacle: the dispossessed, the ignored and unfortunately for Western governments in general, the understandably angry.

For politicians introducing absurdly expensive measures to manage the financial crisis, they are especially upsetting because they highlight the real cost of the systems failure to a society already gripped with fear and paranoia.

And their numbers are growing.

Despite the trillions of dollars pumped into the U.S. economy and the signs that the worst is finally over, there is a universally shared bad taste in the mouth that simply won’t go away.

It is the conviction that we have been the instruments of our own misfortune, that the greed and unbridled mismanagement that has resulted in so much misery for so many people could have been avoided.

We have been dragged to the precipice of an economic catastrophe and it has already costs us trillions of dollars to halt the fall and begin the painful journey back. We flirted with annihilation, survived and if the rumours are to be believed, are already set to tell the tale in a number of glossy, hi-octane Hollywood blockbusters.

But despite all the hype and government sponsored enthusiasm, a gnawing doubt remains. Are we really turning things around or are we spending our grandchildren’s inheritance on a series of ‘stimulus’ packages and ‘rescue’ initiatives that will do no more than allow us to repeat the whole ghastly process?

In the U.S. the spectre of deflation is certainly fading and the pressure on banks to generate a loan income is growing. Programs to help homeowners manage their mortgages are reducing foreclosures, and indications are that house prices are finally starting to level off.

Around the world similar indicators are encouraging a growing sense of confidence and pulling economies back up with it.

There is an expectation that interest rates – the real rate plus inflation – are already on the rise.

Internationally acclaimed commentators such as Professor Fred Foldvary, from Berkley, California suggest that as a direct result of the rise to interest rates, the exchange value of the US dollar will almost certainly plunge and investors will have to turn to gold and silver rather than US Treasury bonds.

This move will halt the drop in property value, encourage renters to become homeowners, and accept the growing number of mortgages that thanks to government programs and pressure will once more become available.

But not everyone is happy with this talk of rejuvenation. There are a growing number of dissenters that welcome the move away from deflation and economic collapse, but argue that if the crisis has taught us anything it’s that we cannot expect to enjoy long term stability and security in an almost entirely unregulated economic environment.

Without a radically different approach, tougher safe guards and a much greater degree of governmental involvement, the whole sorry drama is set to repeat itself again. And that, they say is something we as a global economy can no longer afford.

The trillions being spent on rescue packages across the globe are all we have left to give.

Let’s hope it’s enough.


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