But inflation, that pesky thing, keeps hanging in there, and expanding its reach. And when big names start saying it could be a very big problem, the STFU crowd comes out of the wood work to shut things down.
Consider the case of Twitter’s Jack Dorsey:
Dorsey recently took to his microblogging platform to offer some thoughts on what the officials have assured us is transitory inflation. The Bitcoin aficionado and also-CEO of payment platform Square tweeted: “Hyperinflation is going to change everything. It’s happening.” He got an assist from fellow very online tech billionaire Elon Musk who agreed that “short-term we are seeing strong inflationary pressure.”
Plenty of experts jumped in to fact check him. Hyperinflation, they say, is a rare and specific event involving periods of 50 percent inflation or higher within one month that has only occurred a few times in history. We all know about the Weimar Republic and Zimbabwe. Actually, the United States had a few brushes with almost or basically hyperinflationary events following the Revolutionary and Civil Wars—remember those continentals from high school history? But we’re far from hyperinflationary, our beloved and trusted experts say. And while we’re on the subject, maybe we need more inflation anyway.
Okay, maybe “hyperinflation” was a little dramatic. Let he who has never exaggerated on social media for effect cast the first stone. But most people got the picture: young Americans on Twitter are about to experience an inflationary episode unlike anything they’ve seen.
The criticism went beyond merely correcting someone’s usage of a technical economic concept. For some, this should be a bannable offense.
Because banning people for saying discouraging words like “inflation” or even the more hyperbolic “hyper-inflation” is too much for the delicate ears and tender sensibilities of some.
Maybe their real beef isn’t with rising prices, but with the political damage such increases can inflict on the established political order. Inflation did few favors for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or Jimmy Carter. And it certainly did much worse to the American people and the U.S. economy.
“Inflation” is not hate speech and “hyper-inflation” is not a call to revolution. Insisting otherwise is foolish, but fits right in with our increasingly unserious times.