In this 1974 lecture, Ayn Rand offers a multi-layered analysis of inflation. Reducing complex economic concepts to laymen’s language, she explains what inflation is, how it depletes the value of people’s savings, and how it cripples future production. But she also wants us to understand why mankind never seems to learn its lesson—why the man-made scourge of inflation can destroy one country after another while their citizens acquiesce, “not like animals driven to slaughter, but worse: like animals stampeding in search of a butcher.”
Rand discusses how rampant inflation-inducing policies depend on a widespread short-range mentality throughout the culture—the kind that evades the causes of production and the long-range consequences of egalitarian measures. When people ignore the importance of money as a store of value, they fool themselves into thinking they can engineer economic prosperity by printing more money. What they evade is the fact that they are inflating away the very conditions required for prosperity: the ability of rational, productive individuals to think, save, and plan long-range.
Here you will find a critique of the famed twentieth-century economist John Maynard Keynes, which draws on Rand's views on an extensive number of important economic concepts, such as the true meaning of wealth, the real source of money’s value, the role of savings in production, the nature of a market, the error in believing that consumer spending drives the economy, and why production is the real motor of the economy.
This lecture was delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, America’s oldest (founded in 1908) continuously operating free public lecture series. Over the years, such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger have appeared on its podium. This lecture is 53 minutes long, followed by a 30-minute Q & A period.