LETTER : Inflation is inflammable

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The Independent Online
AS I RECOLLECT, Bertold Brecht once said that the opening of banks was a form of theft. Doubtless this indictment could be contested but, equally doubtless, it could be applied, without reasonable fear of contradiction, to Neal Ascherson's proposal for an increase in the rate of inflation ("The shocking truth about inflation: it could do us a power of good", 16 July). A proposal to reward the profligate at the expense of the thrifty.

Germany's experience of inflation in the early 1920s inhibits it still but the subsequent consequence of sound monetary policies adhered to by the Bundesbank has served the nation well since the last war. It being now understood that the destabilisation of a nation's financial system can be but the first step in the erosion of social cohesion and the undermining of society. In the Germany of the 1920s, the precursors to the catastrophe which needs no elaboration.

Mr Ascherson might argue that he merely advocated a modest rise. But once astride the beast, at full gallop, it is notoriously difficult to dismount.

Philip Desborough

Southport, Merseyside