The US dollar is being inflated at an unprecedented rate. Dollars are being created on an improper basis, mainly by monetization of the government’s budget deficits, in order to bail out financial institutions and companies deemed “too big to fail.” While small businesses and workers are being made to suffer, dollars are being lavished on the military-industrial-financial sector. With dollar inflation, the general level of prices will eventually increase, the dollar will lose much of its purchasing power and dollar denominated investments will become worth less in terms of goods and services.
The big question is, how can savers protect themselves from the adverse effects of inflation? How can middle-class people protect their small nest-egg savings and avoid seeing it shrink in purchasing power?
One can either invest in something that will command a higher price as the value of the dollar shrinks, or one can acquire investments that are denominated in some more stable unit. There are many historical examples of hyper-inflation of national currencies and citizens’ responses to them. One example I’ve written about in my book, The End of Money, is the German hyper-inflation of 1921-23. Another is the current inflation of the currency in Zimbabwe.
In that book and in my previous books, I’ve proposed the adoption of an objective measure of value based on an assortment of basic commodities. Another option is to define a more stable measure of value and pricing unit based on existing government statistics. One such example of the latter is the Chilean Unidad de Fomento (UF), which is a pricing unit based on the Chilean Consumer Price Index. Here is the description of UF from Wikipedia.
The Unidad de Fomento (UF) is a Unit of account that is used in Chile. The exchange rate between the UF and the Chilean peso is constantly adjusted to inflation so that the value of the Unidad de Fomento remains constant. It was created on January 20, 1967, for the use in determining principal and interest in international secured loans for development, subject to revaluation according to the variations of inflation. Afterwards it was extended to all types of bank loans, private or special financing, purchases or investments on installments, contracts, and some special situations. Also it is used in legal standards such as the par value of stock/capitalization of companies, fines, etc. It has become the preferred and predominant measure for determining the cost of construction, values of housing and any secured loan, either private or of the Chilean government. Individual payments are made in Chilean pesos (the country’s legal tender), according to the daily value of the UF.
The main drawback of using government statistics as the basis for a value unit is the fact that they are subject to political influence and manipulation. The U.S. CPI, for example, greatly understates the true cost of living. This is strongly argued by Chris Martenson in his Crash Course.
Better than nothing, perhaps, but not really good enough to forestall a wipe-out of the middle class. We need an independently defined measure of value. I’ve described how to construct such a measure; what remains is to choose the specific commodities and the markets in which they are traded, to give that unit a name and to publish it.