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The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath

The Past and Future of American Affluence

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The Great Inflation in the 1960s and 1970s, notes award-winning columnist Robert J. Samuelson, played a crucial role in transforming American politics, economy, and everyday life. The direct consequences included stagnation in living standards, a growing belief—both in America and abroad—that the great-power status of the United States was ending, and Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980. But that is only half the story. The end of high inflation led to two decades of almost uninterrupted economic growth, rising stock prices and ever-increasing home values. Paradoxically, this prolonged prosperity triggered the economic and financial collapse of 2008 and 2009 by making Americans—from bank executives to ordinary homeowners—overconfident, complacent, and careless. The Great Inflation and its Aftermath, Samuelson contends, demonstrated that we have not yet escaped the boom-and-bust cycles common in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is a sobering tale essential for anyone who wants to understand today’s world.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 22, 2008 – Samuelson, a columnist for the Washington Post and Newsweek, presents a highly readable and thought-provoking discussion of the crippling inflation that hit the United States from the mid-1960s to 1982, resulting in four recessions. According to the author, the culprit of inflation was the “collective failure of communication and candor by the nation's economists”; their bad advice became bad policy as both parties in the White House propagated “economic ignorance” that led to the Great Inflation. The memory of the Great Depression led to “a full employment obsession”—among other dangerous myths and stereotypes that were the “major barrier” to economic convalescence—culminating in a stalemate that was only lifted during the “accidental alliance” between Reagan and Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. While business cycles seem milder now (“The Great Moderation”), the author argues that the cycle could repeat. The book's detailed sketches of the working of the Federal Reserve, stock market and corporate America give a comprehensive picture of the economy, which Samuelson describes as a “social, political, and psychological” mechanism encompassing ideas and values as much as trade and finance.
The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Economics
  • Published: Nov 11, 2008
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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