I’m just way too fascinated (well, maybe just fascinated) in this that I thought I’d post a quick one on the phenomenon of hyperinflation.  Thanks to Paul Kedrosky for leading me to this study on Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation case published on the Cato Journal as well as the table below ranking the six greatest hyperinflations in the past.

Some facts about it:

  • The French Revolution saw 143% monthly inflation in December 1795, the first recorded hyperinflation.
  • The 20th century had 28 hyperinflations; Zimbabwe’s is the 30th.
  • Seventeen of all hyperinflations recorded happened in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • Latin America had 5, Western Europe experienced 4, while Southeast Asia and Africa each had 2 hyperinflations.
  • The US has never had hyperinflation but it did come close on two occasions.

And the table I mentioned: (click to enlarge)


Notice Zimbabwe only comes second after Hungary of 1946 while Germany is only at fourth, after Yugoslavia a decade and a half ago.

For the geeks, I’m linking the study entitled On the Measurement of Zimbabwe’s Hyperinflation here.


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