by Greg Barker
Tuesday, 26
October 2021
Explainer
07:30

Why Jack Dorsey is predicting hyperinflation

For the Twitter CEO it's all about Bitcoin
by Greg Barker
Gandalf goes to Glastonbury

After recently adopting a bizarre fashion sense offline— a mix between an adolescent Gandalf and a Glastonbury hipster — Bitcoin thought leader and Big Tech CEO Jack Dorsey logged on to his Twitter account to tweet the unthinkable:

“Hyperinflation is going to change everything,” he said. “It’s happening.”

What prompted Dorsey to believe that we’re already in such a dire situation remains unknown, but he was probably reacting to the financial media’s expansive coverage of skyrocketing consumer price inflation. After over a year of what some claim to be an economic recovery, the U.S. CPI (Consumer Price Index) has reached its highest level since 2008 and shows no signs of stopping.

Everything — from food to rent to artificial Christmas trees — has become so expensive that we’ve witnessed the rise of an inflation hysteria, where almost every economist, market commentator, and Finance Twitter pundit no longer believes in the Federal Reserve and the Biden Administration’s “inflation is transitory” narrative.

Bitcoin maximalists like Dorsey, of course, recognise that inflation is getting out of hand, but they blame this on something other than Covid-induced shortages caused by an end-of-year reopening boom. Espousing the now-retro monetarist ideas of F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, Bitcoiners argue that the Fed drastically increasing the supply of U.S. dollars has not just led to rampant rising prices but has — as Dorsey declares — set the stage for hyperinflation.

It’s not that simple. Despite many spotlighting how the Federal Reserve has “printed” over “35% of all U.S. dollars” in the last year, the American economy has yet to experience dangerous, prolonged levels of persistent inflation, let alone a Weimar Republic-style situation. And to know why, we have to understand what “money printing” has become in the 21st-century.

It used to conjure up images of mass printing presses churning out large wads of bills, which changed hands over and over on bustling high streets. Now, in the digital bailout age, it ushers in visions of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell furiously pounding CTRL+Print on his work computer, akin to the popular finance meme: “money printer goes BRRR”.

In reality, “money printing” is just central banks creating bank reserves and using them to buy government bonds which they exchange for cash with financial institutions, who later use the funds raised to lend to consumers.

But as real economic activity has all but collapsed, most of this money has found its way into ever-more speculative assets, creating a hyperinflationary boom not in consumer prices but in asset prices like tech stocks and Bitcoin.

Since this “financialization” began to take over the U.S. economy in the 1980s, other deflationary forces have also emerged, and from the elite’s perspective, these will help surmount hyperinflation for the foreseeable future. With, among other things, declining demographics, speedy technological advances, and a borderline manufacturing apocalypse almost guaranteed to continue, it’s likely inflation really is transitory.

If, however, all these forces start being overpowered by inflationary pressures caused by Covid, shortages, and the reopening boom, that’s when policymakers need to start worrying. Jack Dorsey could become a foreseer of hyperinflationary collapse but for entirely the wrong reasons.

Greg Barker is an independent journalist and quant, who also writes under the name Concoda. You can find him on Substack and Twitter at @concodanomics.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago

Did anyone with the barest knowledge of economics and history not think that ‘printing’ vast amounts of dollars/pounds to pump into our economies would not lead to severe inflation?

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Judy, you obviously have not heard about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). This is the core of the new wave of bizzaro-land politics and economic activism. It would appear that COVID provided many excuses for grand scale experiments and MMT seems to be one of them.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I agree. But a lot of supposedly intelligent people argue that it doesn’t. I think I was right when I described Modern Monetary Theory as the economist’s answer to the perpetual motion machines that we used to laugh about as children – They don’t work.

Last edited 11 months ago by Terry Needham
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Hello Terry. If you see this please tell me how you find your replies. Ta very much.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Hello Judy,
My post is now “Awaiting for Approval”
But to answer your question. There is no easy way as far as I can see. I click on “My account” move to “Comments” and then open up my post and see if anyone has replied.

Last edited 11 months ago by Terry Needham
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Many thanks Terry.

John Hicks
John Hicks
11 months ago

Appreciated the clarity of your article, Greg Barker, and the sunlight you shine on a topic that has many of us bamboozled. This wad of money sloshing around has found its way into “speculative assets” you write. You omit housing from your examples. It would be interesting to better understand where house price inflation is leading in this era of Financialization. Houses and Homes have intrinsic values that may not fit the envelope of a money making industry based upon money itself. Now that the trading of houses is an encouraged industry, it competes with those who merely seek a home? Perhaps our intrinsic values have become part of the commodity market too?

Warren T
Warren T
11 months ago

Our society has gotten to the point where these zillionaires can tweet things that will enrich themselves greatly.
Ya think Mr. Dorsey owned any Bitcoin before he made this statement? He is apparently competing with Mr. Tesla for being the lead dog in collecting and manipulating the most useful idiots on social media to his personal benefit.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

Bit coin Hodlers, it is called. ‘Whales’ who own massive numbers of Bitcoin, from the days it was $1 to $100 many bought huge stocks, and are just holding them (hodling) are where most of the money lies – and some, Like Peter Schiff, say they are stuck as if they try to exit with the cash it will cause a run, and as Bitcoin has no intrinsic value, but is purely a speculative investment, it could drop to nothing once confidence is lost. The Whales ( holders of masses of coin, I guess Dorsey is one) always seek to grow Bitcoin price by talking it up, as it really is all confidence. (and is one of the very few ways out of Fiat Currency) Never trust anyone about Bitcoin, it is smoke and mirrors with over a Trillion market cap…. wild stuff. (I am sorry I missed out…) If hyperinflation happens Bit Coin will become millions a coin as the cash tries to find somewhere to ride it out.

But Debt monetization or monetary financing is the practice of a government borrowing money from the central bank to finance public spending instead of selling bonds to private investors or raising taxes. The central banks who buy government debt, are essentially creating new money in the process to do so.” So this is printing money (increasing M2) wile QE is not monetized, but just is numbers moving back in the esoteric parts, and not becoming cash, so doing asset inflation, but not price inflation.

The thing is…. once a CBDC (central bank digital currency) is created – the FED Central Bank can just print all they want without all the bother of buying and selling bonds – because the people will have accounts directly with the Fed, and so the Fed just deposits digital currency into your account – just conjures it up and passes it out – and so NO debt is created issuing digital currency (according to George Gammon) – so National Debt never grows no matter how much Digital currency is spent – it is MMT!

A creepy dude, talking of a creepy monetary situation where all money is mere – well, nothing actually. The deeper one reads on Economics, and what money is, and how more is created, it is like alchemy. With the $ being the world’s reserve currency all the world would go down if hyper inflation happened – Michael Burry has made a couple cryptic statements similar to Dorsey’s (‘The Big Short’)

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
11 months ago

Is Jack Dorsey relevant? He’s a good band leader but so what? I thought he was dead. Maybe it was Jimmy Dorsey?

Last edited 11 months ago by Chris Wheatley
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Not dead yet, but more a Dorian Gray character – like Zuckerberg, and more so every day – Bill Gates. These guys barely seem human anymore. There is something in their eyes, how they smile, or do not, at all the wrong times, how they talk in a sort of code, David Icke and his Lizards masquerading as humans is getting more convincing every day.