There is a line of argument which says that because money will be literally disappearing as loans default and new loans are not taken out, inflation in the money supply will fall, which means that prices will fall, and thus this proves that we are going to suffer a deflationary collapse instead of an inflationary collapse, where prices go up and up.
You gotta admit; it seems to be a compelling argument; the money supply will fall as loans go bad, which means consumer prices will fall. And with loans going bad, nobody is going to either make a loan or take one, and so the money supply will not grow.
This presents a real difficulty for me, as it means that when people demand that I defend my thesis that we will, instead, see an inflationary collapse, I can’t. The fall in the money supply seems so compelling!
So I nervously hem and haw, desperately looking for some plausible reason, and I can’t think of one, and pretty soon I am resorting to personal attacks against the person questioning me (“Did your stupid kids dream up that question, or is that your own stupid question?) and all-in-all I get to feeling like a cornered rat, which usually leads to the Attack Without Mercy (AWM), which is, actually a “surprise attack” even if the enemy knows right where you are, is looking at you, and is actually laying in ambush for you! I get this little-known tactical nugget from General Armstrong Custer himself in the movie “Little Big Man”, where he said, in this very “they know we’re here!” circumstance, “Nothing is more surprising than the attack without mercy!”
So imagine my great relief to have an ally in Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital, who writes, “Many mistakenly believe that when the U.S. economy falls into recession, reduced domestic demand will lead to falling consumer prices. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that as the dollar loses value, the rising relative values of foreign currencies will increase consumer demand abroad. As fewer foreign-made products are imported and more domestic-made products are exported, the result will be far fewer products available for Americans to consume. So even if the domestic money supply were to contract, the supply of goods for sale would contract even faster. Shrinking supply will be a major factor in pushing consumer prices higher in America.”
Hey! I love it when math works in my favor for a change, instead of the bank showing me the math of where I had screwed up my checking account, and the math about how I owe them money for overdrafts and bounced checks. Now it would be the other way around, for a welcome and long overdue change! Now I would get right in THEIR stupid little faces and demand that THEY come up with some cash, you deadbeat losers, and right now, or I’m calling the cops! Oooh! I tingle at the anticipation!
I was enjoying this little tingle and almost missed the whole point, which is that, “The big problem politically is that hyper-inflation may superficially appear to be the lesser evil. If asset prices are allowed to collapse, ownership of those assets will pass to our creditors. If instead we repay our debts with debased currency, we retain ownership of our assets and shift the losses to our creditors.”
That’s the way it shapes up, and the deciding factor is, so he says, “Since American debtors can vote in U.S. elections and foreign creditors can not, the choice seems obvious. Of course there are some American creditors as well, but since they comprise such a small percentage of the electorate, my guess is that their losses will be seen as acceptable collateral damage.”
Exactly so! That is the depth to which the American government has sunk; the “good of the majority” is paramount over the desires of the minority, which is proved when something like the bottom half of taxpayers ranked by income pay no income tax at all, while the top 1% pays more than half of all income taxes, and the fact that almost half of the people in the USA receive money directly, or indirectly, from the federal government each and every month! Hahaha! What a system! The “Good of the Majority” run amok! Ugh.
Until next time,
The Mogambo Guru
for Markets and Money