When do the basic rules of economics stop being applicable? About now, it seems. I thought about this again over the weekend when I came across a quote posted on Twitter by Alexander Forbes chief economist and Business Day columnist Isaah Mhlanga: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than output.”

It’s not fashionable nowadays to quote Milton Friedman, and it does seem rather quaint at a time characterised by a global race to print money. Arguments for SA to do the same are getting ever louder, so this is probably a good time to ask if the normal rules of demand and supply should be thrown away. The people we entrust with answers don’t seem any wiser as events overtake them...

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