It is not often accountants attempt the role of futurist—
we are usually much too busy trying to reconstruct the
past—so I hope I may be allowed a few preliminary observations
before plunging into this question of what
will happen to money in the 1970s.
Money, it seems to me, is the most difficult to predict
of the several economic factors we have before us today.
The supply of cash and credit, the businessman's main
dollar concern, is subject not only to central-bank manipulation,
but to political developments, impossible to forecast.
The 1960s, if we need a reminder, gave us a searing
one. Vietnam, a small U.S. involvement, became a full-fledged
war, contributing to inflation and two of the
severest money crunches of modern times. And no one,
I imagine, standing ten years ago where I am, could have
predicted any of those things.
We can examine economic trends, look at government
attitudes and do many other things to our hearts'
content. But always with money there is that implacable
reality: that the most careful of projections can be upset
by events wholly beyond the equation. Dante, you know,
consigned all soothsayers to the Inferno, and I sometimes
suspect he made the decision with money predictors
foremost in mind.
The outlook I see for money, with a field of warning
flags flying, is essentially this: