Nobody was really shocked when Venezuela devalued the bolivar earlier this month from 4.3 to the dollar to 6.3.
When it comes to the currency wars, massive devaluations are simply one of the keys to this "race to the bottom" strategy.
But Venezuela's bad behavior, and that of several other countries in the region, means that several Latin American countries are now likely to suffer hyper-inflation or declare bankruptcy.
For investors in Latin America, that raises the risks for everyone, even for countries with good policies and relatively low debt.
Unfortunately, long-standing investors in this part of the world have seen this hyperinflationary pattern before.
Hyperinflation in America: When a Loaf of Bread is $3 Billion
Too few understand just how disruptive hyperinflation in America would be.
Truth is, it would be a nightmare.
In an episode of hyperinflation, money loses value so rapidly that people spend it as quickly as possible, which only feeds the cycle of pushing prices higher and higher at a faster and faster rate.
Imagine prices at the food store and gas pump not just going up a few cents at a time, but doubling in a matter of months, weeks, or even days.
And now some economists and market experts think many of the ingredients for hyperinflation are brewing in America.
That's because years of profligate U.S. government borrowing and spending have created trillions of dollars that lurk in the reserves of foreign countries and major financial institutions. The situation escalated after the 2008 financial crisis, with the U.S. Federal Reserve's policies of "quantitative easing" creating even more money.
"The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have committed the system to its ultimate insolvency, through the easy politics of a bottomless pocketbook, the servicing of big-moneyed special interests, gross mismanagement, and a deliberate and ongoing effort to debase the U.S. currency," said John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics in his annual report on hyperinflation.
Historically, governments that have suffered bouts of hyperinflation - most notoriously Weimar Germany from 1922-1923 - have set the table by printing too much money during a time of economic contraction.
The trouble is, once it starts it's impossible to stop. Hyperinflation in America isn't here yet, but we're edging dangerously close to the point of no return.
To continue reading, please click here...
Is the U.S. Federal Reserve Setting the Stage for Hyperinflation?
The U.S. government wants to stimulate growth in the moribund economy by stoking the fires of inflation. But by leaving interest rates low and buying up bonds - a policy known as quantitative easing (QE) - the U.S. Federal Reserve risks debasing the dollar, which could lead to a prolonged period of hyperinflation that would send prices skyrocketing.
After their most recent meeting on Sept. 21, Fed policymakers said low inflation warranted looser monetary policy. Minutes from the meeting said central bankers were prepared to ease policy to boost inflation expectations "before long."
The Fed is seeking ways to boost the U.S. economy after keeping interest rates at record lows and buying in $1.7 trillion of U.S. securities. The next move may be another round of quantitative easing that would expand the Fed's balance sheet even further.
But as it feeds more and more money into the financial system, the central bank may very well be sowing the seeds of hyperinflation.
Four Reasons Why Hyperinflation Hasn't Hit the U.S. Economy…Yet
Everything we know about classic economic theory suggests the U.S. economy should be experiencing Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation right now, thanks to the nearly $2.2 trillion the U.S. Federal Reserve has pumped into the system.
But we're not...yet.
Classic economic theory says that money supply can be used to stimulate the economy and our central bankers seem to agree. That's why they've pumped more than $1 trillion dollars into the economy, engineered countless bailout bonanzas for zombie institutions, put Detroit on life support, and delivered a bunch of financial Band-Aids to the trauma ward - all in a desperate bid to make Americans feel better about the global financial crisis.