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Zimmer, Henry B. and Dave Greber.

Toronto, Methuen, c1984. 264pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0458-98220-2. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

The basic assumption of this book is that after a brief spell of low inflation, Canada and the United States are going to experience hyperinflation. The authors believe that our governments will be forced to monetize their debts as the cost of borrowing money becomes prohibitive. When this happens, our dollars will not be worth a plugged nickle and all will be lost unless you follow the advice of Zimmer and Greber.

If you accept this reasoning, you will enjoy the book. It is easy to read, and gives some interesting examples of how some people have coped with inflation.

To prove the seriousness of their view, Greber visits Italy, Israel, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico where he interviews people who have become prosperous against all odds. Many of their activities are dubious, however, and some are carried out at great risk. They have little value for Canadians.

The problem with this attempt to get factual data is that the economic situations of the countries Greber visits are not, and have never been like ours. Israel is at war. Spain is an agrarian society. Argentina fought a ruinous war. Italy has very few resources. Mexico had a government that bled the country of billions of dollars.

The rambling trip through these five inflation ravaged countries is interesting, but none of Greber's discoveries are surprising. Canadian newspapers have dealt vividly with all five over the past few years. Greber could have saved himself some expense by visiting a library.

After trying to convince us that our economics are doomed, the main suggestion to help us protect our assets is "to get your own economic life in order and ready yourself for a rough ride." Readers may be excused the wisdom of buying a book simply for this advice. The few detailed suggestions are too specific to be of any use and are of questionable value.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore C.C., North Bay, Ont.
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