Stacked Brazilian coins with graphics

Pragmatist perspectives on inflation

Current Issue | Vol 24, No 3 | July 2023
Marcin Serafin
In 1976, standing before a cheering Wall Street audience at an event during the presidential campaign, US President Gerald Ford declared: “After all, unemployment affects only 8 percent of the people while inflation affects 100 percent.” At the time, unemployment in the US fluctuated around 8 % while the annual inflation rate was around 5.5 %.
Federico Neiburg
Inflation’s recent transformation into a first-order global issue provides us with an occasion to update how the social sciences view it. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the environmental crisis have generated a cascading series of phenomena, including emergency injections of liquidity to maintain minimum spending power for poor people and to ensure companies’ survival, supply chain interruptions, and a general spike in the prices of basic goods, such as food, water, and energy.
Jeanne Lazarus
Talking about money means talking about practices, morals, policies, the banking system, the social system, families, inequalities, poverty, wealth, measure, excess, or lack. However, most often, money is approached as a fixed point around which individuals, societies, banks, or policies move. Inflation jeopardizes this fixity in several ways: the value of saved money decreases or even collapses when the value of goods and services rises.
Bruno Théret
I share most of the ideas Federico Neiburg presents in his paper. I also strongly appreciate the work of the researchers who he says he is in dialogue with. All of them have been very useful in my own research as an institutional economist working on monetary phenomena. My only point of issue after reading Neiburg’s paper concerns his notion of a “pragmatics of money.” I think it lacks a normative dimension, at least from a traditional pragmatist point of view.
Guadalupe Moreno
In “Inflation – Pragmatics of money and inflationary sensoria” (this issue), Federico Neiburg continues to expand the sociological reflection on money’s uses in the unstable landscapes of the financial periphery. As he shows, in these landscapes, frequent currency crises and inflationary processes disrupt established monetary routines and encourage the emergence of creative solutions and new habits that help to combat price increases.
Ariel Wilkis
Between 2020 and 2022, two major events shook society, the economy, and the daily lives of people across the world.1 The first of these events, the Covid-19 pandemic, set off a new cycle of inflation after several decades in which prices had been at a virtual standstill for most countries worldwide. In order to understand these two processes, their interactions, and their conditioning factors, this article focuses on the emerging sense among Argentines of their moral superiority to the state since the outbreak of the pandemic.
John Komlos · 2023
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Bruce G. Carruthers · 2022
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