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Quoting Milton Friedman on the inflationary period shortly following the American Gold Rush in California:

"Because there was more gold, they had to pay a little more gold to buy goods and services. The prices of things in terms of gold went up."

Question: Is the Gold Rush period's inflation an example of a fundamental economic axiom, something to which we have little to no control over? Or could it have been avoided with modern fiscal policies?

Example: One example that comes to mind is how much money was printed during Quantitative Easing 1-3. Despite the sheer amount of money printed, we didn't undergo inflation, because the QE money never made it to circulation. One could argue that as we avoided inflation, that is evidence of our current cleverness, but at the same time I also see this example as cautionary tale: "Don't let ANY money get into the hands of the public, or we will be doomed to repeat the Gold Rush."

You may feel free to follow up with my example above, or provide your own examples.

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  • $\begingroup$ We did experience inflation in a classical economic sense (an increase in the money supply). So the money from QE may have not circulated into the economy per se (bank lending), but one could argue that it gave banks the ability (reserves) to lend more than they otherwise would have had there been no QE. So we did experience inflation in terms of prices and the velocity of money being higher than it otherwise would have been without QE. That was the point of QE as we know. $\endgroup$ – Simeon Ikudabo May 9 '18 at 21:13

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