WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/03/11 -- Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this Press Release.
In the wake of the global economic crisis, the world is trying to chart an economic path to the future and find a "new normal." As Dr. Alexander Mirtchev and Dr. Norman A. Bailey explain, inflation as a factor of global economic security has the innate capacity to upend carefully laid plans and further upset the equilibrium.
For as long as there has been the systematic issuance of currency, there have been governments keen to control that currency. Some policies, of course, have been effective, while others decidedly less so.
Exemplary of the latter category is the attempt of the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD) to find a solution to the socio-economic turbulences besetting his world.
Faced with Barbarian incursions, domestic unrest, declining production and rising prices, the emperor imposed price controls and debased the currency, the silver denarius. These measures resulted in shortages, even more rapidly increasing prices, a barter economy with a growing black market and concomitant social hardship and unrest.
Diocletian's successor, Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD), famous for his conversion to Christianity and for founding the city of Constantinople, was, in his time, probably at least as famous for his monetary reform.
He introduced a series of bold policies and measures, some comparable with the modern understanding of fiscal discipline, epitomized by the replacement of the debased denarius with a gold coin, which he named the solidus, in a brilliant early example of public-relations spin.
This currency remained "solid" for 700 years, a span of time unrivalled by any other currency at any time. Notably, hoards of these coins are still found as far away from Rome as China.
History's lessons have a tendency to repeat themselves. In response to the financial meltdown and in pursuit of recovery, governments around the world have adopted policies reminiscent more of Diocletian than Constantine's vision.
Confronted by multiple challenges in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, governments have adopted a series of policies almost as a matter of course, with one of the notable ones being so-called quantitative easing - increasing money supply to ramp up liquidity.
Some central banks, most significantly the U.S. Federal Reserve, are maintaining the policy of directly monetizing the federal debt (also known as quantitative easing) - considering it, if not non-inflationary, then as a preferred remedy for the possibility of deflation.
In November 2010, the Fed introduced a $600 billion program for the direct purchase of Treasury securities over six months in order to drive down long-term rates and thus stimulate recovery from the "great recession" and begin to lower unemployment rates.
The Bank of England also has continued a program of asset purchases to the tune of GBP 200 billion, despite an increasing divergence of opinions within the Monetary Policy Committee. The European Central Bank has been conducting an extensive program of asset purchases since May 2009 that are still ongoing.
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