One of the biggest laughs of the last decade or so has been the way our vaunted economy has “licked inflation.” Every time we took another lick off of the delicious ice cream cone, the price of farm land leaped another lick higher. Every time the Federal Reserve licked interest rates lower, the price of houses jumped another lick up. Every penny “saved” on interest meant two or three pennies spent on construction that became a colossal loss when the owner could not make payments. We licked inflation so well that the price of corn went to historic highs this year, dragging food prices up with it. Fertilizer costs have spiked 18 percent recently according to the latest report.
Even when manufacturers purportedly “hold the line” on prices, inflation wins. The hoe you buy today for nearly the same price as the one you bought fifteen years ago will need repair or replacement twice as soon which means that the inflation occurs not only in your wallet but in the increasing height of the landfill.
Or, what is very prevalent right now, the manufacturer holds the line on the price, but when you check the package, it holds somewhat less than it did previously.
However, I think inflation is good because otherwise I could not have survived as a writer but would have had to find an honest way to make a living. I learned how to use inflation to my own benefit by studying the Amish. They produce farm goods in a horse and buggy economy and sell them in the super jet airliner economy. So I learned to produce words in a one lane country back road economy and sell them to a market ruled by the million lane Internet superhighway. The Amish enjoy the way they live so do not mind the seemingly lower cost of living. That turned out to be true for me too. Keeping costs down has more rewards than just keeping costs down. The Amish know that driving a buggy saves thousands over driving a car, it also gives them an excuse to avoid a lot of unpleasant and unnecessary travel. In the same way, refraining from vacations that are not very relaxing, boring social functions, all sorts of costly entertainments that are not very entertaining, gives a writer more time to write or more peace of mind to focus on writing.
Every dollar made is equal to two or three in the inflationary world. I might have borrowed to buy a bigger farm, a bigger car, a bigger house, but to be an independent writer, I dared not. And curiously, that decision turned out to be just about as profitable as if I had decided to take the high road. The Amish know. Some of them end up able to compete even with the big boys in the inflationary world of industrial agriculture.
I’m sure the economists would find all sorts of things wrong with my reasoning, but it seems to me that inflation hurts the rich a lot more than the poor and that’s why the powerful and privileged try so hard to lick it. If you have ten million dollars socked away, runaway inflation will make it look like five million in no time at all. This is not an issue I will ever have to worry about.