The Truth About Inflation

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The Truth About Inflation
by Paul Donovan
Routledge, 2015
200 pp.
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Inflation is usually considered simple, straightforward, and undesirable; that, at least, is the view promoted by many central bankers and some economists. Donovan counters that inflation is anything but straightforward and contends that whether it is good or bad depends on one’s circumstances. His book is a careful and sober attempt to dispel the many myths and half-truths that surround discussions of inflation, starting with how it is actually measured and how different measures are relevant for the young and the old, the rich and the poor, lenders and borrowers, and savers and investors. Contrary to common fears, governments do not typically allow inflation to grow in order to reduce the real value of their debts, even if they occasionally can do so; they usually find other ways to reduce their debt burdens. The author draws heavily on the British experience with inflation, but the same myths—and the same refutations—apply to most developed nations.