Business Insider – 10 Hyperinflation Horror Stories Of The 20th Century:
- Yugoslavia (1989 – 1994) – “At its worst the bank was printing dinars denominations as high as 500 billion.”
- China (1948 – 1949) – “China’s Yuan Dynasty funded its wars by printing more and more currency which devalued the yuan.”
- Germany (1921 – 1923) – “In the early 1920s hyperinflation had so destroyed the mark that Germans began using it as a substitute for firewood and coal since the currency was cheaper to burn.”
- Zimbabwe (2000 – 2009) – “At one point the bank printed Zimbabwean dollar with a 100 trillion denomination so shoppers didn’t have to lug around sacks of cash.”
- Nicaragua (1987 – 1990) – “A rebel war, a drop in agricultural exports and US sanctions on the country saw Cordobas devalued against the dollar. The government took to rubber-stamping the currency to higher denominations.”
- Bolivia (1984 – 1985) – “Unlike most countries on this list Bolivia’s inflation didn’t stem from a war. An unstable political environment led to a collapse of the nation’s export industry and it’s burgeoning debt to foreign lenders forced the Bolivian government to print more money.”
- Chile (1973 – 1975) – “The devaluation of escudos led the market to demand dollars.”
- Argentina (1980s) – “Argentina’s inflation stemmed from heavy external borrowing and when that was cut off the government devalued the currency to increase its trade surplus.”
- Greece (1943 – 1946) – “WWII left Greece in debt because the government covered its expenses by printing money instead of taxing its citizens. The German-Italian occupation destroyed the economy and eventually citizens lost faith in the currency and the central bank began to issue gold franc coins which cut the demand for the currency.”
- Hungary (1945 – 1946) – “When 100 quintillion became the highest pengő denomination the government adopted a new currency to cope with the situation and it gave way to a special currency the adópengő but by July 1946, one adópengő equaled 2×1021 pengő.”
So yeah, printing money is bad.
In most cases the debts were at least partially due to war spending. Right now the US has ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with large numbers of troops. That can’t go on forever. Just as with Germany, Japan, and Korea, we’re sure to have some troops stationed there indefinitely, but we can’t afford the current troop levels. It’s time to start bringing the boys back home.