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Defining dystopia down

I thought this was funny. I’m not sure if Mankiw is making a joke about what Ken Rogoff thinks is a “dystopia” or whether he’s making a more general joke about how economists think, but either way I was amused.

(I have no opinion one way or another on the economic analysis. I just thought it was a funny use of the term “dystopia,” which I usually associate more with Mad Max than with inflation or tax increases. Actually, I thought some economists thought that a bit of inflation was a good thing?)


  1. James says:

    I would file this one under dry humor.

  2. kevin denny says:

    a bit of inflation probably is a good thing: contracts, particulary for wages, are fixed in nominal terms and they are very hard to adjustment is easier in practise with a bit of inflation in the system: you can change relative prices by not making inflation maybe slow but it works. i wouldn't push it above about 3% though..

  3. joe says:

    Inflation does not equal dystopia.

    But hyperinflation can definitely lead to very bad conditions. I wouldn't call it a dystopia, though, nor would I call Mad Max a dystopia. That word, to me, implies a stable but dysfunctional society. I think "post-apocalyptic" is a better word for Max Max, and America's future.