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I: Imagine, John Lennon 
                          OF THE WORLD THAN IN THE UNITED STATES

     Inflation is a problem. That is one of the few things everybody seems to agree on. Governments throughout the world have an annoyingly similar manner of talking about and dealing with this problem. First, political figures, representing governments, constantly speak in statistics which abstractly avoid the realities inflation inflicts. Secondly, they continue to search for this crucial crippler as if they had lost a contact lens in a desert dust storm.

     You are real; we as a race of people are real; and inflation is real, but statistics are merely representations of reality. We are the statistics. And statistics do not begin to tell the story. Inflation causes hardships, forcing us to adjust and live our lives differently.

     For all but the rich, inflation is the end of the large family. For parents, inflation is more than aggravation, it can be constant pressure. The child may not miss what he or she never had, but when times are bad, parents often have less love and understanding to offer their children. For many over the age of 65, inflation means surviving on a fixed and inadequate income. Inflation is a living nightmare which affects almost all.

     Inflation is surprisingly simple to track down. If you had $20 and now you don't, you can reasonably assume that someone else does. If no one else has the $20, then it is lost or has disappeared. Assuming that something that disappears is really somewhere; then why can't we find inflation? We have computers that can answer any problem; why can't they find where inflation goes? The obvious answer is that either we don't want to, or we have not cared to try hard enough.

     When playing poker, most gamblers can tell you at any time whether they are ahead or have lost money for the evening. Whether in a legalized club, or with friends at home, any player can calculate his winnings or losings quite easily. A winning player can either spend his money or save it. If the stakes and consequently the winnings are big, a prosperous gambler might buy a new car, purchase a home, or invest in the stock market. Business operates no differently. Their large numbers can confuse us, but the figures do not lie.

     In hope of finding this elusive inflation, let's play an imaginary game of poker. We need players. Let's start with a seat for the U.S. Government, one seat for the Arab Nations, several, perhaps four seats for any of a dozen oil conglomerates, one seat for business in general, and a seat for labor representing not only itself, but the people whose salaries they negotiate.

     The players buy chips. Each player deals, passing that honor after each hand. Those who run out of chips may purchase more if they have the necessary cash or credentials. Winning players can either spend their money buying something, or save it. Follow the deal. Follow the chips. See who buys what, and maybe we can detect a pattern. Poker does not provide an adequate representation of how the world's economy functions, but while the game and the gamble may change, the system of accounting does not. If we watch where the chips go, there is no reason we should not be able to see why inflation exists, how many it affects, and what or who causes it.

     The perfect crime is committed in broad daylight, behind the cloak of obviousness, in full view of its victims. Gasoline is a product that is sold throughout the world in billions of units, on a daily basis. BILLIONS OF GALLONS SOLD OVER AND OVER AGAIN MULTIPLIED BY HUGE INCREASES OF 50 TO 150 CENTS A GALLON THROUGHOUT THE WORLD = EVENTUAL CATASTROPHE.

     It is as if the oil companies have sent a giant chain letter out to every household on earth. The numbers-and-money pyramid and become dangerous. Economists who think this is mumbo jumbo are invited to test by feeding their computers with available figures on energy consumption. For those skeptical economists who are unable to figure things in their head, find a 9th grade student who knows how to operate a pocket calculator reasonably well. Multiply consumption rates times costs worldwide and the staggering sales figures make the misleading "profit statements" add up to a colossal lie.

     Inflation is no mystery. It does not take Sherlock Holmes to find it. Inflation is legalized crime, tolerated by governments, paid for by people.

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