How Economists Triggered A Nuclear War, Using Hyperinflation

Angst threatened to brim over among the Brotherhood of the Economists. In one evening meet at their favourite joint, the Ivory Tower Tavern, these troubled souls reassessed their situation. There was general consensus about the assumption of their pitiable state. It was a rare instance when the Mavens of Assumption agreed on anything, without a War.

Apart from being the butt of ridicule, generally centered around their love for making glorious assumptions, and finer assumptions about crude assumptions, the Brotherhood felt the recession had undone much of their world view. The world had broken down in their theory, though most non-Brotherhood folk held the opposite view. This did not bother the Brotherhood. The recession had pushed many in the Brotherhood into marginal unproductivity, a state worthy of much despair.

The Brotherhood plotted a fight back. They decided to teach the real world an ideal lesson in the real value of their idealized theories.

On scanning the globe for potential sources capable of spreading widespread strife, they chanced upon Iran. Here was an economy that few liked. Its grand plans of nuclearization was seen as a furtive attempt at militarization. The Brotherhood did not understand, or care about, the finer nuances of Uranium and Plutonium and isotopes, which were classified under Boreium. They decided to assume the existence of WMDs to build their strike against the vile world that disregarded their theories.

The Brotherhood were of a non-violent bent of mind. They opted to deploy a tool in their vast armoury so potent that some in the Brotherhood did what came naturally to them – disagree – with the idea. They were worried, for the Brotherhood had decided to unleash the ogre of Hyperinflation.

The Brotherhood reasoned that if they could trigger rampant and widespread rise in prices, uncontrolled misery would follow. The world would pause to watch a disaster unfold, and would learn to treat the Brotherhood with the respect they so naturally deserved. Not many in the world had experienced hyperinflation. An unknown devil could only be exorcised by a skilled hand. Bad times (for Iran) would mean the beginning of good times for the embittered Brotherhood.

They would encourage the legion of well-intentioned and patronizing nations to impose sanctions on Iran. Iran would be shunned by the international trading community. Partnering would be scoffed at, with the defiant running the risk of being ostracised from the community. Most nations would tow the line, gradually. Iran would be isolated. Payments and financial assistance  suspended.  Iran’s well-oiled economy would come to a screeching halt. Faced with evaporating revenue and cash flow, inflation would rear its unwanted head. The falling currency – the rial – would trigger this end.

Everything proceeded according to plan.

The clogging of Iran’s financial arteries set off a heart attack, causing an avalanche in its currency. Prices began rising at at nearly 70% per month when someone checked. The government tried its bit in artificially propping up the currency, in the vain hope that somehow problems would be swept under the carpet. It didn’t work. People began losing faith in the currency and this set off a new round of depreciation; which caused faith (and the currency) to plummet further. The vicious cycle threatened to cause a complete breakdown. The inevitable inevitably comes to pass.

Their plans had succeeded in stopping Iran on its nuclear tracks, though there were many that weren’t sure if Iran was indeed in the path to begin with. The Brotherhood was a satisfied lot. The world had been dealt a fatal blow.

Or so they thought.

They hadn’t counted that a rapidly dying man wielding a gun had little to lose, in pulling the trigger. Pushed into a corner with dwindling options, Iran decided to reciprocate the Brotherhood in kind and clogged vital oil arteries (passageways) that greased the world trade. Oil prices spiked, and soon many parts of the world joined the ranks of the despondent. A few suggested that the Brotherhood had triggered a serial heart attack across the globe. The Brotherhood’s eyes and ears, as usual, were locked shut.

As tensions escalated, attempts at dialogue went nowhere. Nuclear weapons, tired of idling for years and accumulating dust, were invited to do the communication. Things turned ugly. Economic warfare had spilled over to an unwanted area.

Pandora’s Box had reopened.

Hyperinflation had triggered an unforeseen consequence. The Brotherhood had wanted to teach the world a lesson. They lined up to learn one.

…with their chests (hyper)inflated.


5 thoughts on “How Economists Triggered A Nuclear War, Using Hyperinflation

  1. Frankly, this whole economic bit remains quite a mystery. While pockets of population can become rich or poor, at the level of humanity, certainly it has to be a zero-sum game.

    What triggers what? The chicken came first or the egg? Or, as rotations and revolutions and other circular motions that the universe thrives on, one is a trigger to the other as we are in a perpetual circular motion?

    Some day, hopefully, I will try and get some answers!! Till then, the economists can write what they want.

    1. You summed it up. It is indeed a zero sum game. GIven any man-made resource, hoarding by the powerful is an unavoidable circumstance exist. The weak, or the unendowed, will find less than their ‘rightful’ share. Inequality cannot be wished away.

      The most amusing thing about economics is our love for searching for a beautiful arrow of causality that runs from A to B. Trouble is, as you mention, life is circular where cause and effect exchange positions regularly. No one knows what causes what and yet, many attempts are made at putting out academic papers and recommendations based on a false sense of understanding reality (use of statistics, mathematics).

      Human behaviour is a wondrously bewildering phenomena, not naturally conducive for computer modeling.

      I think we shall never cease to fully accept that we cannot know all of what really transpires around us. We look for the tiny area of light illuminated under the lamp that we stand, but there is a vast jungle out of limits of our light source that we do not even know exists.

    2. Do check this out:

      ‘Allegory of the Cave’ enunciated by Socrates, that captures ignorance and the dynamics of unequal knowledge. It is one of the most enduring realities.

  2. “The most amusing thing about economics is our love for searching for a beautiful arrow of causality that runs from A to B”… truly an interesting perspective..!
    Kudos, HaLin.!
    (Big Fan !.. )

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