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The debt-inflation cycle and the global financial crisis

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Author Info

  • Boettke, Peter
  • Coyne, Christopher

Abstract

Writing over 230 years ago, Adam Smith noted the 'juggling trick' whereby governments hide the extent of their public debt through 'pretend payments.' As the fiscal crises around the world illustrate, this juggling trick has run its course. This paper explores the relevance of Smith’s juggling trick in the context of dominant fiscal and monetary policies. It is argued that government spending intended to maintain stability, avoid deflation, and stimulate the economy leads to significant increases in the public debt. This public debt is sustainable for a period of time and can be serviced through 'pretend payments' such as subsequent borrowing or the printing of money. However, at some point borrowing is no longer a feasible option as the state's creditworthiness erodes. The only recourse is the monetarization of the debt which is also unsustainable due to the threat of hyperinflation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32091.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32091

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Related research

Keywords: Deflation; Fiscal Imbalance; Inflation; Public Debt;

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References

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  1. Boettke, Peter, 2012. "A behavioral approach to the political and economic inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 753-756.
  2. Boettke, Peter & Smith, Daniel & Snow, Nicholas, 2011. "Been there done that: the political economy of Déjà Vu," MPRA Paper 32094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Adam Smith & Richard Wagner & Bruce Yandle, 2011. "A theory of entangled political economy, with application to TARP and NRA," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 45-66, July.
  4. Jerry H Tempelman, 2009. "Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(3), pages 182-183, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Jamie Morgan & Ioana Negru, 2012. "The Austrian perspective on the global financial crisis: a critique," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 17(2), pages 27-55, September.

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