The Return of Inflation: Money and Capital in the 21st Century
Both a history and a contemporary analysis, an illuminating investigation of the defining economic concern of our time.
The last year has seen the return of inflation as a preoccupation of political decision-makers, economists, and the general public. After two decades of wondering why inflation was so low, despite vast economic stimulus, economists were surprised by the recent surge in price increases. Despite disagreement about what exactly is happening in the economy, there is unanimity in one belief: slowing growth to control inflation. To focus on inflation’s return, Paul Mattick looks at both the past and present, placing current events in the context of capitalism’s history. Exploring the nature of money itself, he provides a concise, jargon-free understanding of recent inflation as well as official efforts to control it, illuminating the state of our contemporary economy.
Praise for The Return of Inflation: Money and Capital in the 21st Century
"Why is inflation suddenly so high? The better question, argues Mattick, is why was it so low for so long. With an eye toward explaining a complex economic topic in layperson’s terms, Mattick puts historical periods of high and low inflation in context, helping readers understand how economic forces and official interventions influence rates and how things got to be how they are today."
— Liz Scheier
"According to Mattick, former editor of the International Journal of Political Economy, who trained in philosophy, 'economists have a long record of theoretical and predictive failure.' After failing to predict the 2008 financial crisis, they failed to explain why inflation stayed unexpectedly low for a decade, before suddenly rising in 2021. Was the COVID-19 pandemic responsible for the high inflation? If so, why does it continue? This book, from a left-wing perspective, argues that modern capitalism is."
"The Return of Inflation distinguishes itself by placing contemporary events within the broader context of capitalism’s history. Mattick skillfully entwines the past and the present, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the economic forces at play. . . . Mattick’s insightful exploration provides a nuanced perspective on the current economic challenges and offers a valuable resource for those seeking clarity on the defining economic concern of our time."
— Politics Today
“Economic theorists and policymakers have long misconstrued the causes and cures for inflation. Mattick provides an eye-opening account of that failure and a brilliant, lucidly presented analysis of the inherently inflationary logic of modern-day capitalism. Indispensable for all those concerned about the welfare of working people.”
— Steve Fraser, author of "The Age of Acquiescence"
"A reader looking for a clear, well-researched account of the history and theories of inflation and the workings of monetary institutions from a critical, left-wing perspective will not find a better source than Mattick’s The Return of Inflation."
— Duncan K. Foley, Emeritus Leo Model Professor of Economics, New School for Social Research