Hyperinflation and the rise of Hitler

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Originally posted on December 4, 2009.


In Modern Principles we strive to use modern examples to illustrate and apply theory thus we use Zimbabwe as our example of hyperinflation, rather than the more traditional example of 1923 Germany. The German hyperinflation of 1923 is still relevant, however, for understanding history.


The PBS series, The Commanding Heights, has lots of great material for an economics class. The first two minutes of the episode shown below drive home the point that hyperinflation destroyed the savings of the middle class and prepared the way for Hitler.


For copyright reasons, the YouTube version embedded below has more images than the official PBS version that you can find at the link above.

About the Author
Alex Tabarrok is Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of research for The Independent Institute. Tabarrok is co-author with Tyler Cowen of the popular economics blog, Marginal Revolution. His recent research looks at bounty hunters, judicial incentives and elections, crime control, patent reform, methods to increase the supply of human organs for transplant, and the regulation of pharmaceuticals. He is the editor of the books, Entrepreneurial Economics: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science; The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society; and Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and The Control of Crime. His papers have appeared in the Journal of Law and Economics, Public Choice, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, The American Law and Economics Review, Kyklos and many other journals. His popular articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other magazines and newspapers.