INFLATIONBut here is the new generally accepted meaning:
A general increase in the money supply - sometimes known as monetary inflation.
INFLATIONObviously, as an Austrian, along with all the other Austrians, including most notably Peter Schiff, I believe that INFLATION should still be defined in the old way (monetary inflation) rather than in the new way (price inflation), which the government-loving Keynesians and Monetarists inflicted upon us.
A general increase in the price level - sometimes known as price inflation.
However, accepting that word usage does change over time, which one of the two definitions is driving the other one? Well, the first one of course.
Yes, there are other forces acting on price inflation, as well as monetary inflation. However, in the end the flywheel of monetary inflation will always trump these other forces, which are usually self-eliminating, except perhaps the improvement of technology and entrepreneurial methods over time found within capitalist economies.
You might want to think of it this way. Monetary inflation is the male partner leading a dance, while price inflation is his female partner spinning around him. She may speed up, she may slow down, seemingly independent of her man, but overall she will tend to be where he leads her.
So what are these other forces affecting price inflation? Well, Jim Rogers would describe them as deleveraging. As we enter an economic shock wave, many investors and businesses are hit and either need to sell everything they have to cover short positions and margin calls, or sell inventory to clear debt. This creates a downward pressure on prices, hence prices fall, which can temporarily even offset the opposite force of massive monetary inflation. We can even move briefly into a period of price deflation, as the man goes one way, and his lady shoots back past him.
But it would appear, though nothing is ever certain in this predictive business, that the forces of deleveraging have reached their maximum. The Bank of England can no longer cut interest rates, therefore the monthly mortgage payments of most people on tracker mortgages can go no lower. The once powerful forces of deleveraging will also be fading away, in their own self-limiting processes.
The shorts must eventually get covered, the margin calls must eventually be filled, and the businesses must either close down or survive at a new lower price level. How long before we reach that fully deleveraged point?
Once we do hit it, this will leave monetary inflation as the only significant force driving price inflation. The male lead will then get his formerly free-floating partner firmly by the waist, and then start moving her across the dance floor in the direction of his choosing.
But how soon is soon? It's hard to say. The deleveraging and price slashing process may continue for a little longer to keep fighting the forces of monetary inflation, but deleveraging is self-limiting. Eventually, everyone is deleveraged.
However monetary inflation has nothing to hold it back except the whim of politicians. Having successfully escaped from the bondage of gold, in 1971, all the world's governments can print as much money as they want. It used to be that the only way to increase the money supply was to mine more gold. This was hazardous, difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Therefore the money supply only grew slowly, whereas the increases in technology brought about by entrepreneurial capitalism offset this so much that prices gradually dropped over time, even though the money supply was constantly increasing.
Now all politicians have to do is take a column of zeroes in a specially guarded computer within the heart of the Bank of England, 0000000000000, and change the first of those zeroes to a one, to give us: 1000000000000. Thus, we have just created £1 trillion pounds out of thin air. Actually, what they done in the last four months is create the following amounts of money from thin air, each month:
This gives us a total of:
£126.3 billion pounds
Or an average of:
£31.6 billion pounds a month
It's amazing what computers can do for you. As the Bank of England has announced that it will create approximately £75 billion new pounds, out of thin air, over three months, in the additional process of quantitative easing, let's add £25 billion to that calculated figure, to arrive at how much they are going to be increasing the money supply, per month, over the next few months:
£56.6 billion pounds month (or approximately £942 pounds per person, per month)
As unemployment has 'officially' gone over 2 million, in this country, for the first time since 1997, Gordon Brown will be becoming increasingly desperate to reflate his bubble, to fool enough of the people over the next year or so that the problems are over. I think that figure of £942 pounds will actually be a conservative one. I reckon by the time he is through, it will be more like £3,000 pounds per person, per month. As we have gone exactly nowhere in 12 years of Zanu Labour, in terms of unemployment, and have also been sleepwalked into a depression, he will start taking enormous gambles, in the steps of his mentor Robert Mugabe, and pray that the Keynesian economists advising him know what they're talking about.
Even if he 'restricts' himself to just a grand a month, per person, he is playing a very dangerous game. If he times it exactly right, it could even 'work', at least from the viewpoint of maintaining personal power. He could balance the forces of deleveraging and monetary inflation just enough to fool this country into believing that the worst is over. He will then hold a snap election to take advantage of that happy feeling, before the underlying monetary inflation really begins to destroy this mirage, and all of that new credit feeds through the price system to push up real prices rather than imagined feelings of wealth.
This is what the useless blue socialists in the Tory Party must be terrified of; that Gordon gets his timing exactly right, and that he gets enough of what he wants in the forthcoming G20 conference to pull this timing rabbit out of the hat. Hence, their stupid pronouncements recently on increasing taxes and spending in the teeth of a depression.
But have no fear. The great 'Price Inflation' is coming. With M4 at 18.8% before they even began quantitative easing, what Brown is deliberately stoking up is the mother of all price inflations.
It is now only a matter of timing as to when this monster will finally rear its destructive head. Gordon is hoping that it will be just after he wins the next snap election.
But then, the economists who are advising on this skulduggery have been surprised how quickly price inflation is catching up with monetary inflation, so expect him to be wrong once again, on a matter of national importance.
When the IMF start selling their gold, temporarily pushing the gold price down a few dollars, then buy it. If the Austrians are right, then you do not want to be left holding paper currency when the great 'Price Inflation' finally hits these shores.
You want to be left holding something which has value in and of itself, whether this is gold, silver, or any other hard asset.
Or do you trust your government to do its best for you, rather than its constituent members doing their best for themselves?