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September 7, 2014 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I want to read a book about the sociohistory of inflation: something like Graeber's Debt is the closest analog that comes to mind, tho probably a poor one. Does such exist?

The concept of inflation makes people believe nutty things (see Zero Hedge for examples). I want a history of those beliefs.
posted by PMdixon to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This isn't exactly bang in the center of what you're looking for, but three books that all have excellent histories of different aspects of inflation (and, in some cases, its social, political, and cultural aspects and the nuttiness engendered) are:

Jacob Soll's The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations (a larger history of political accountancy, but with tons of stuff about both inflationary and deflationary strategies, and the social beliefs undergirding them)

Liaquat Ahamed's Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (a detailed history of the economic collapse of the 1920s, which becomes a history of the politics of inflation that has a lot of bearing on present-day weirdness)

Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (a much more technical, but extraordinarily comprehensive, global history of financial crises, including high inflation, hyperinflation, and debt default)

Between these three, I think you could have a really rich picture of the social (and economic) history of inflation to inform the often-wacky things people come to believe as a consequence.
posted by deathmarch to epistemic closure at 8:20 AM on September 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

David Hackett Fischer's The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History might be close to what you're looking for; he argues that European history has seen four long eras of price increase, followed by periods of price equilibrium.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2014

Check Brad DeLong's blog. He always seems to be reading in the history of econ, and he has links to books he's reading on his site.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:27 AM on September 8, 2014

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