What do you do if you’re running the world’s largest money laundering operation but you just can’t unleash your inflation tiger? The Federal Reserve Bank of New York uses The Story of Inflation, a comic book, to make an argument most Americans would dispute: that we should be thankful when our money loses value.
The Story of Inflation, one of several comics the New York Fed distributes for free, has an evenhanded, instructive tone that plays more subtly than, for example, the 1933 MGM short INFLATION: Explained by Pete Smith (a minor YouTube hit under the title “Vintage Pro-Inflation Propaganda”), which promises inflation will “sock Old Kid Depression right on the button.” But it serves the same goal of accustoming Americans to the inevitability of a depleted dollar.
The nation’s smart shoppers might relish seeing prices for houses, milk, and gasoline in steep decline, but The Story of Inflation makes a contrarian case for rising costs, depicting bridezillas hurrying to buy gowns and lazy construction workers bragging about their COLA increases. Still, the book’s marketing ruins the illusion of asset appreciation. Why give copies away when you could call them “graphic novels” and sell them for $24.95?