Inflation (of money–actually debt) leads to tyranny

From the book, Mises—The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 503-504.
Nicholas Oresme, a fourteenth century scholastic and author of the very first monetary treatise pointed out that debasement (the inflation technique of his age) served to enrich the princes at the expense of the community. The princes thereby turned from kings into tyrants:

I am of the opinion that the main and final cause why the prince pretends to the power of altering the coinage is the profit or gain which he can get from it … the amount of the prince’s profit is necessarily that of the community’s loss. But whatever loss the prince inflicts on the community is injustice and the act of a tyrant and not of a king, as Aristotle says … And so the prince would be at length able to draw to himself almost all the money or riches of his subjects and reduce them to slavery. And this would be tyrannical, indeed true and absolute tyranny, as it is represented by philosophers and in ancient history.” Nicholas Oresme, “A Treatise on the origin, Nature, Law, and Alterations of Money,” Charles Johnson, ed., The De Moneta of Nicholas Oresme and English Mint Documents (London: Nelson & Sons, 1956).

Mises stressed that the inflationist mindset, which also underlies proposals in favor of seemingly moderate conditional inflation, is not an isolated phenomena but part and parcel of the reigning idealogy [belongs to imperialism, to militarism, to protectionism, to statism, to socialism—in the same way as the sound-money policy of the champions of the god standard have belonged to liberalist, to free-trade, and to passivism. And just as the global catastrophe that has swept over mankind since 1914 [Federal Reserve began operating] is not an elementary fact of nature, but the necessary consequence of the ideas that rule our times, so is the destruction of our monetary system nothing but the necessary consequence of the dominance of certain ideologies of monetary policy. Mises, “Die geldtheoretische Seite des Stabilisierungsproblems,” (Translated by Jorg Guido Hulsmann)


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