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Opinion
Virginia Postrel

Think Old Folks Are Too Scared of Inflation? Listen to This.

Maybe people who came of age in the 1970s can’t see straight when it comes to the prospect of surging prices. But remember: You weren’t there.

Protesting the rise of food prices in 1973. The worst was yet to come.

Protesting the rise of food prices in 1973. The worst was yet to come.

Photographer: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For Americans under 50, inflation is little more than a theoretical concept. But for those of us born in the late 1950s and 1960s, the inflation of the 1970s was a formative experience we’d rather not repeat. Inflation was as much a part of our childhood as Covid is for today’s kids.

It was always there in the background. Occasionally it receded, only to return worse than before. Inflation was a sometimes disquieting, sometimes terrifying fact of life.