Posted by Rolfe Winkler on Cryptogon:
Alice Schroeder wrote a great column for Bloomberg yesterday that I’m just getting to. The best stuff comes at the end, where she describes why some people are buying gold even though inflation doesn’t seem to be a big risk. (Apologies in advance for block-quoting lots of stuff in this post, but I think it’s worth it…)
Schroeder is describing, in much simpler terms, what economist William Buiter has called a “sudden stop” event.
[Gold bugs] aren’t just betting on inflation, as is the conventional wisdom. Gold has a wicked history of being an unreliable inflation hedge. It has, though, at times been a haven against sudden currency depreciation.
In all the talk of inflation because the Treasury is printing so much money versus deflation because it may not print enough, there is one type of inflation that is rarely discussed. This is the mega-inflation caused by a sudden currency devaluation. Currency is like any financial innovation, an obligation secured by assets. When the obligation is perceived to have increased far beyond the level justifiable by the assets, which in this case make up a country’s economy, a bubble has formed.
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