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Causes and Cures of World Inflation

Causes and Cures of World Inflation

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Excerpt from Causes and Cures of World Inflation: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Finance and Resources of the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, Ninety-Fourth Congress, Second Session, January 26 and February 17, 1976

The subcommittee met at 10:04 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 2221, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.

Members present: Senators Byrd, Jr., of Virginia, Gravel, and Curtis.

Senator Byrd. The Subcommittee on International Finance and Resources today begins one of several hearings on the subject of world inflation.

We all can agree that inflation at the level we have experienced in the recent past undercuts the very fiber of our democratic institutions. Even though our economy is gradually pulling out of a most serious recession, the expected Federal deficit for the fiscal year ending next June will be $75 billion. Also, the effect of the quadruple price of imported oil is still with us.

Because we live in an interdependent world, and because price levels in different countries are closely linked by trade of goods and services, we must consider the causes and cures of inflation in a world context.

The United States and other countries face twin problems, high rates of unemployment and inflation, and they do not seem to have domestic policies to deal with these phenomena.

Since 1970, consumer prices have increased by 42 percent in the United States, 77 percent in Japan, 97 percent in the United Kingdom, 77 percent in Italy, 48 percent in Canada, 37 percent in France, and 37 percent in West Germany.

Unless the industrialized nations can gain control over inflation which is ravaging the purchasing power of their currencies, they face the prospects of political and social unrest.

Although inflation is a worldwide phenomenon, to stop it. the largest countries obviously would have to share a major responsibility. This Nation, being the world's richest, should reexamine its monetary and fiscal policies and take the lead in the fight against inflation.

In the recent Jamaica meeting attended by Ministers of the International Monetary Fund, the principals have agreed on a floating exchange system. The United States is a strong advocate of this system and believes this system will help to bring stability within the world economy.

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