My letter to the WSJ re: Inflation is not indicative of an expanding economy

Re: US Consumer Prices Flat in January, but Offer Glimmer of Inflation

Dear Sirs:
This quote from Ms. Davidson’s article perfectly illustrates the fallacy that higher prices are desirable:

”Broad-based price growth is signalling that the wage and price pressures are building, an indication that the economy is expanding at a solid pace and that recessionary concerns are overdone,” PNC economist Gus Faucher said.

Higher prices are the result of a combination of two factors, both of which are undesirable–lower output or an increase in the money supply which causes an increase in spending. The following simple formula of Professor George Reisman can be found on page 505 of his magnum opus Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics.

P = Dc/Sc

P is the general level of consumers’ goods prices, in the sense of the weighted average of the prices at which consumers’ goods are actually sold. Dc is the aggregate demand for consumers’ goods. as manifested in a definite total expenditure of money to buy consumers’ goods, and Sc is the aggregate supply of consumers’ goods, as manifested in a definite quantity of consumers’ goods produced and sold.

As further explained by Professor Reisman, “An expanding quantity of money operates to raise the general price level by virtue of raising aggregate demand relative to aggregate supply.”

In other words, the Federal Reserve Bank’s policy of printing more money causes aggregate demand to rise, but the rise in prices does not mean that more goods and services are being produced. It most probably means that more money is chasing the same or even smaller quantity of goods. In fact an increase in the quantity of money causes dislocations and disequilibrium in the structure of production, which causes the supply of consumers’ goods to fall.

Therefore, an increase in prices, which is commonly called “inflation”, is nothing to be desired by the general public.

Patrick Barron

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