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The Hidden Hand Moved On

By       Message Tom Dennen     Permalink
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The ‘Hidden Hand’ Exposed?

“But the free market is not primarily a device to procure growth. It is a device to secure the most efficient use of resources.” — Henry C. Wallich, a Governor of the Federal Reserve System from 1974 to 1986.

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Researching inflation has been an eye-opener: What is the best definition? Either we’ve lost the plot or there isn’t one, just some platitudes:

“The overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, usually as measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.”

“A persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money, caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.”

They all come down to: ‘A sustained, rapid increase in general price levels.”

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What causes it? Now, that’s a toughie.

“There is no one single, universally accepted cause of inflation” … So the modern economist gives us three:

1. Cost-push inflation, which is due to wage increases that cause businesses to raise prices to cover higher labor costs, which leads to demands for still higher wages to pay for the increase in prices, called the wage-price spiral.

2. Demand-pull inflation which results from increasing consumer demand financed by easier availability of credit – a little greed here – and,

3. Monetary inflation caused by the expansion in the supply due to printing of more money by a government to cover its deficits.

All of the above are pure hogwash especially the obvious wage-price spiral 'definition'.

Adding pewter to Roman gold coins (monetary inflation) didn't fool the merchants then, but economists generally agree that adding pewter (printing lots of paper money) causes a high rate of inflation in today’s money supply.

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But because economic reality is so simple when viewed in relation to broader historical events – which it isn’t – it is fed to us in ‘economic theories' that have to sound complicated.

It does look circular, though and because so far no cause, no cure, I have had to either invent or find one for myself


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Tom is a contributor to public debate on issues affecting our survival; works with a London and a South African think tank, is a working journalist and author.

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