This prescriptive tract on inflation was undertaken as an update of the author's equally partisan 1960 primer, What You...

READ REVIEW

THE INFLATION CRISIS, AND HOW TO RESOLVE IT

This prescriptive tract on inflation was undertaken as an update of the author's equally partisan 1960 primer, What You Should Know About Inflation. In the interim, the subject has become not only more complex but also more saleable. In any event, the utterly humorless Hazlitt, a veteran viewer-with-alarm, contends that there is a distinction between his textbook definition of inflation--issuance of ""too much"" paper money and/or inordinate expansion of credit--and its most obvious manifestation, a persistent rise in prices. To break the ""open conspiracy"" that has deflated the dollar's real purchasing power by over 75% since 1940, the author suggests a number of remedies. For openers, he advises that government officials foreswear boosts in the money supply and bank credit without compensating gains in tax receipts or labor productivity; not for him the ""costly myth"" of an inflation/unemployment trade-off. Not too surprisingly, the gold standard is a key element in Hazlitt's recommendations. There's no doubt that inflation represents a cruel tax on pensioners as well as savers, lenders, and those dependent on fixed incomes. But whether the purported discipline of gold or other of the author's Draconian reforms--e.g., elimination of ""subsidies"" such as indexation of Social Security benefits and long-term unemployment-insurance payments--will retrieve the situation remains a very open question. He ignores the penalties that they, in turn, inflict.

Pub Date: July 28, 1978

ISBN: 1154745600

Page Count: -

Publisher: Arlington House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1978