We Need to Talk About Inflation
14 Urgent Lessons from the Last 2,000 Years
Imprint: Yale University Press
“Everything you wanted to know about inflation but were afraid to ask.”—Mervyn King
“King’s lessons command our attention.”—Lawrence H. Summers
“Maybe you don’t think inflation is back for good. That is your right. But you’d be advised to read this book first.”—Stephanie Flanders
From investors and monetary authorities to governments and policy makers, almost everyone had assumed inflation was dead and buried. But now people the world over are confronting a poisonous new economic reality and, with it, the prospect of vast and increasing wealth inequality.
How have we arrived in this situation? And what, if anything, can we do about it?
Celebrated economist Stephen D. King—one of the few to warn ahead of time about the latest inflationary upheaval—identifies key lessons from the history of inflation that policy makers chose not to heed. From ancient Rome through the American Civil War and up to the asset bubbles of today, inflation stems from policy error, sovereign greed, and a collective loss of faith in currencies.
We Need to Talk About Inflation cuts through centuries of bad judgment and misunderstanding, offering a means to intervene now—so we can begin to tackle the political and social upheaval unleashed by inflation.
“My kind of inflation book. There is lots of great storytelling, which lightens the subject matter, and makes it accessible to non-experts.”—Moira O’Neill, Financial Times, “Best Summer Books of 2023: Money”
“Historically informed and lucid.”—Martin Wolf, Financial Times, “Best Summer Books of 2023: Economics”
“Not just a useful and well-written account of inflation for the layman, but a contribution to a debate that is still very much live. A brilliantly clear and concise new history.”—Juliet Samuel, Times (UK)
“As with all the best economists, King’s views are grounded in an understanding of our historical experience.”—Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph
“Highly readable and informative. . . . King’s timely book should be essential reading for economic policymakers everywhere.”—Nick Macpherson, Financial Times
“[An] excellent and readable new book about the re-emergence of inflation.”—Larry Elliot, The Guardian
“A damning critique. . . . King writes lucidly, avoiding the jargon that makes economics impenetrable to the lay reader.”—Edward Chancellor, Times Literary Supplement
“[A] lively polemic. . . . King’s view is that getting inflation back down to 2 percent will involve breaking more eggs than the authorities are prepared to acknowledge.”—Howard Davies, Literary Review
“A powerful combination of history, current affairs and economic analysis.”—Mohamed A. El-Erian, on Twitter
“Equal parts history lesson, policy primer and cri de coeur for index-linked pocket money, We Need to Talk About Inflation makes its subject as engaging as it is urgent—highly recommended for aspiring economists, and actual economists in search of historical perspective.”—Tom Orlik, chief economist for Bloomberg Economics, on Twitter
“King makes his case with verve, in the process delineating the pernicious effects of inflation and underscoring the absurdity of thinking it could never reappear in advanced economies.”—Max Harris, Finance & Development
“This is a fun book to read and with an important underlying message—central banks are under watch everywhere. How they emerge from this inflation crisis will determine both their reputation worldwide and how they evolve from here.”—Vicky Pryce, Society of Professional Economists
“Most of those who have to deal with inflation are too young to remember when it was last a serious issue. This book teaches them what they need to know. King’s lessons command our attention.”—Lawrence H. Summers, former US Treasury Secretary
“Everything you wanted to know about inflation but were afraid to ask. This book is timely, well-researched and very well-written.”—Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England
“Reading Stephen King over the years has often given me advance notice of the next big economic story. Maybe you don’t think inflation is back for good. That is your right. But you’d be advised to read this book first.”—Stephanie Flanders, head of Economics and Government at Bloomberg