The Corner

Economy & Business

The Earliest Example of Inflation?

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Apropos of not much, save for all the inflation in the news, I came across this passage while reading a book titled, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (sometimes a book’s cover is, in fact, the whole ballgame):

When Mansa Musa, otherwise known as Musa I, the ruler of the Malian Empire . . . traveled in 1324 on the hajj to Mecca from Timbuktu, he brought several thousand silk-clad slaves and eighty camels carrying three hundred pounds of gold dust each. “The emperor flooded Cairo with his benefactions,” wrote an Arab historian of the time. “He left no court emir nor holder of a royal office without the gift of a load of gold.” The emperor dispensed so much gold during his stopover in Cairo, wrote the historian, that he suppressed its value in the city’s markets for a dozen years.

In other news, Roll Call reports that Biden “is preparing to ask Congress for ‘substantial’ funding to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic domestically and abroad,” after spending $2 trillion a year ago and with inflation now at a 40-year high.


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