Guest Post: You Can't Have One Without The Other

Tyler Durden's picture

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66Sexy's picture

The fed 'pretends' to fight Deflation.

"We conclude that the [Federal] Reserve Banks are not federal ... but are independent privately owned and locally controlled corporations...without day to day direction from the federal government." Quote by: 9th Circuit Court

Speculation is not inflation. 'Inflation' by today's standards is dictated top-bottom by governments and corporations as a justification to raise prices and cheapen debt. The Fed has everything to with this, as they create the speculation.

But remember, the fed is a private institution!

The initiative is 'Deflation'. The goal is cheap asset acquisition via economic deception.

Highrev's picture

Looks like there's a spread to play there.

I'll go with a narrowing.


Monedas's picture

The source of evil in the worlds left of center democracies (yes, coincidentally, that's all of them forever) is the left of center politicians that we elect in the manipulated elections ! Surprised ? The fed is in their feeding chain ! Surprised ? Swim upstream and you'll find Hillary and Barney spawning in the gravelly shoals ! Monedas 2011 Hoarders have more fun !

baby_BLYTHE's picture

usury has destroyed America.

mcguire's picture

66sexy, i agree 100%.  

walcott's picture

The initiative is 'Deflation'. The goal is cheap asset acquisition via economic deception.

There it is. Starvation economics.

Popo's picture

LOL?   What happened to "not" weighing in on the inflation/deflation debate?   You *completely* took the inflation side of the argument, and literally called the deflation side "short sighted" in your closing.

Your long winded argument in 2 bullet points:

1)  Deflationists insist on the existence of a wage price spiral for inflation to occur.

2)  Don't Chinese wages count in the global analysis of rising wages?





SheepDog-One's picture

Cant have inflation, that textbook theory may look correct, however with record high unemployment foreclosures and bankruptcies, no one can pay for inflation. Thats the brick wall theyre up against. They desperately want inflation of their items on their books such as real estate, but no one can support paying for their books.

Popo's picture

Agreed.  From a policy perspective,  inflation looks like a sure thing.   But from a consumer spending perspective,   it's not so simple.   

If one is to include rising wages in Asia as part of the wage/price spiral analysis  (as the original poster suggests) -- one must believe in that deeply theoretical creature called "Asian economic self-sustainability".   Does it exist?  Not right now, at any rate.   When Western consumer spending drops off,  China will get whacked.  Hard.   Will Asia eventually come back and pick up the consumerist slack left in the wake of US and European weakness?  Yes, eventually.  But the other word for "eventually" is "deflation".


66Sexy's picture

The abstraction between inflation and speculation is rampant. You need wage growth and low unemployment for non illusory inflation. Inflation is a bottom-up effect, not top-bottom. TPTB are attempting to dictate that there is inflation, probably as a government-corporate cooperative. It's a religion: Inflation! But the fuel of it all is expectations... a.k.a speculation on future events.

This illustrates the dire failure of the current system that we all know intuitively, but can't seem to put our finger on it.

After all, it is just a shell game... typical short term profiteering and looting by those in positions of power today - nothing more.

MachoMan's picture

Kind of...  I'm not sure there is a perfect playbook for what we're experiencing at the moment...  but, what about cost push inflation -> hyperinflation?  Sure, demand pull requires wage growth for sure...  but what about when those in charge of the money supply purposefully devalue it beyond the breaking point?

It seems to me that we could get a hyperinflationary depression without much effort in the event the foot stays in the gas pedal a little too long...  this obviously entails a psychological adjustment to how money (especially that printed by developed nations) is viewed, but should not be discounted despite our sheep like tolerances.

qussl3's picture

Stagflation in the west and inflation in the east.

Wage price spiral in China guarantees they export inflation while importing jobs, at least until the west becomes cheap enough again.

The skewed income and wealth distribution in the east will also further drive the income and wealth gaps with the wealthy speculating in the asset markets for a return, this will almost certainly finally end up in commodities as the east doesnt trust paper other than for a trade, and property speculation is a political dead end.

Everyone needs energy and everyone's grandmother knows it, price can only go up, but in periods of panic there may be sharp corrections, but structurally it cant get cheap in real terms.

Inflation is here simply because there are at least 2B more consumers who want a western lifestyle.

The wacked out liquidity conditons will just exagerrate moves both up and down.

66Sexy's picture

What is amusing is that actual wage growth in China will be deflationary, thanks to outsourcing. Higher costs, stagnant US wages means higher prices are unsustainable, LOWER PRICES and lower bottom lines, sell off's... deflation.

qussl3's picture

China will print to infinity, if export demand cant keep the workforce employed watch them build a thousand ghost cities and print to pay for it.

China is concerned about only one thing, social unrest, gotta keep the masses working and fed, as long as the world believes the FED and perhaps soon the ECB are causing inflation China will get a free pass.

Ghordius's picture

Agree. And a big part of the "ghost cities" are kept as un-leveraged long term savings by private individuals, so short and mid-term prices are not the issue.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Yeah, remember when the Fed was so, so concerned about "runaway inflation" that they jacked up the Fed funds rate from 1% to 5.25% in a span of 24 months.  Yeah, that worked out great.

I'm currently in the deflationist camp, and it has nothing to do with wages.  We're in a balance sheet recession.  Japan has already shown the way.  We're headed in the same direction.  Guess who else is about to experience the same pain?  China!  They're currently in the late stages of our 2004-2007 cycle.  Same script, same playbook, same result incoming.   

MachoMan's picture

I'll venture to say that japan having a balance sheet recession is one thing, but virtually all world powers having one is another thing altogether...  where japan might still be able to export things to other countries not experiencing the same downturn, there eventually becomes no systemically removed player large enough to sustain the developed world...  tack on demographic factors and you've got a totally different ballgame.

Obviously there are some incredible similarities with not letting the market correct itself/zomies, but this exemplifies the ever present problem with induction...  our previous observation only works if all things are constant/equal... 

equity_momo's picture

Would this not just facilitate (manufacturing) jobs (and some service such as call centres etc) moving back to the US as the global wage arbitrage gives less incentive to set up factories in a very dangerous place to do business like China?

Oil will get more and more expensive relatively for business' to keep up the globalization game , so the silver lining will be along Jeff Rubins mantra of "regional economics"

jomama's picture has an interesting compilation of data.  if you can ever get it to load.

...though, i would swear it's higher than represented.  probably because the CPI shown isn't the 'true' CPI, weighted across all expenditures.  (the comment reposted by the editor and now by me was insightful):


Editor says: June 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm

A reader sent me the following comment which is well worth posting here:

I spent some considerable time trying to get familiar with what these guys attempt to do, their methodology, their mechanics and comprehensiveness and some sense about whether they have any kind of meaningful weighted index of the stuff that the average citizen uses.

For example, unless 30 or more percent of their CPI/consumer price index is allocated to housing costs (mortgage interest payments, rent, utilities, insurance) it not only isn’t useful, it is misleading. For Americans, another perhaps 20 percent has to factor in the the costs of health insurance, copayments, prescriptions, etc. Food, both for at home eat in and eat out costs of perhaps 20 percent. Transportation for going to work- public transportation, the costs of car leasing, fuel and maintenance of 20 %.

There I have 90% of a typical family’s expenditures without allocating anything for income taxes, education, entertainment, vacations, investments, savings and the myriad of other expenditures.

My point is that any data purporting to be CPI that takes its numbers off the internet, and for most nations in the world, in real time is probably nothing more than a giant hoax. It isn’t comprehensive, weighted, comparable from one nation to another, etc. I think these guys have a great concept, but the realities and obstacles of execution are virtually totally insurmountable especially in meeting what objectives they have.

I’ll take the US Bureau of Labour Statistics and Statistics Canada numbers any day simply because they purport to try to do what I think is necessary, plus we essentially know how they fudge the data. We make allowances for that. But these guys and their real time computer acquired data for most of the world updated daily. Give me an effing break!


swissinv's picture

nice analysis but what happens when China is curtailing the inflation (see shibor o/n rate)? wages should actually go down hence commodity prices as well...

MadeOfQuarks's picture

The Chinese will certainly start consuming their own goods rather than selling them to westerners, western wages remain fairly still while asian wages increase, prices go up, and we simply buy less stuff, which works out well now that the asians are buying it instead.

I don't understand why the asians haven't allowed this to happen sooner, all they got for all their produced stuff was a shitload of promises.

66Sexy's picture

Buying power. Perhaps the Wall Marts and other multinational corporations can buy the goods cheap enough, because they buy in massive bulk....

No chinese corporation can come close to american corporate buying power.. the chinese simply cannot afford their own goods. The chinese government has enough subsidizing on its plate than to buy retail domestically produced goods; though they prob could if they had too. 

 Not to mention, china has no consumer credit expanionism.

China wage growth wont grow fast enough, due to gluts in education and labor. In China, there are often 10 employees for every customer.

Real chinese wage growth would result in either massive government employment subsidization (which is already apparent) or social pressures CHina doesnt want. The fact is wage growth would bring the ugly face of real capitalism to a nice, balanced social order, because less people working means more hungry folks on the streets.

In short: I dont believe China is capable of sustaining itself domestically; especially not through chinese wage growth. China is in a huge speculative frenzy that may appear to be inflation, but in reality is just another asset bubble. The clock is ticking. 

Bohemian Clubber's picture

inflation for things you need and deflation for things you want

Caviar Emptor's picture

Ode to myself: 

I first expounded my theory that the US was going to experience a novel beast which I called Biflation in early 2010 here on ZH. 

To date, almost every single piece of macro data has confirmed this. You long time posters and yes you, Tyler, must be growing tired of my enumeration of factors that are inflationary versus those that are deflationary that combined present not only something unprecedented in modern US economic history, but present a huge obstacle to success in Fed monetary policy. Not to mention the poor US citizenry burdened by a double whammy the likes of which will devastate many. Sadly. 

I'm delighted that more and more are jumping on this bandwagon and recognizing that the current climate represents unique challenges that can't be lumped into the same old generic categories as in prior US economic downturns or expansions. There are many perils to not seeing all this clearly. This is not your father's stagflation, as in what happened in the 1970s, which caused the coining of the term. There is no wage inflation and there is no real estate inflation. In fact quite the opposite. That is the key reason why past economic policies will fail if applied. In fact "supply-side" monetary/political policies instituted in the 1980s to combat 1970s stagflation have directly caused the situation we face today.

There will be no easy macro answers. But in terms of your micro portfolio, only gold will provide an effective hedge against the eroding value of the dollar and most everything else.  


swissinv's picture

keeping in mind that real estates are not just built in the US

Ghordius's picture

Don't agree. Yes, I remember your Biflation Concept and I have to admit I did not "retain" the idea...

The orthodox Stagflation explanation would be like this: Eventually, enough money is "printed" and the chase begins (higher velocity). This boost demand for "something that holds value". Which then boosts production of "durable consumption items". Then you have wage increases and all else follows.

Perhaps the scenario above leaks. For myself, I hold a much simpler model: whenever rates are artificially low, expect them to rise to compensate... I'd say it's a primitive way of reading Mises.

What happens in the Western World if rates to up to 8%? Or 10% For seven years?

MachoMan's picture

It wouldn't take that long before default... 

He is right, for the short-medium term...  we're going to continue to experience the same thing until inflation or deflation take hold and reach their logical conclusion (hyperinflationary depression).

People arguing about inflation or deflation always need to account for timeline.  Hell, any guess will probably have its day in the sun on our way to hyperinflationary depression.  Any which way you want to cut it, the dollar, as we know it, is dead...  if you want to blink first or last, that's your choice.

Ghordius's picture

What I don't get is: why Hyperinflation? The Dollar is a HUGE beast. Really tough. 50% per month!?

I have not seen many cases of Hyperinflation where you did not have some years at 20%-25% before collapse.
And the Government doing his very best to make it worse.

The French Franc added double zeros, lost them with new printed money, and then again.
The Italian Lira went up from being at parity with an ounce of silver to being 100'000 times less in one lifetime.
The Turkish Lira just struck 6 zeros, accumulated in thirty years.

I don't know how many times I bought small things with a banknote with 100'000 stamped on it AND stable prices for years.

It does not always has to be in a way Hollywood would stage it.

MachoMan's picture

Apples and oranges.

Our problem is that we literally have no appetite to fix the problem.  As a result, our collapse will be epic and sudden...  there have been numerous articles on this site posted regarding this same concept.

By your definition, the dollar could have added a couple zeros since 1913... 

Why hyperinflation?  Well, deleveraging and deflation causes pain/default...  which in turn causes us to lose our military hegemony and dollar/oil peg...  which in turn causes alternative currencies to be used in more transactions...  which causes failed auctions....  ultimately leading to hyperinflation...

OR, alternatively, quantitative easing (in any form you choose) combined with low interest rates (also qe) causes prices for real assets, commodities, and necessities to skyrocket in dollars...  eventually leading people to hedge with alternative forms of currency...  and a loss of faith in the dollar...

This shouldn't be that profound...  it's a question of when, not if.  [a biflationary/stagflationary environment will simply lead to one or more of the above scenarios].

skipjack's picture

" what is unlevered and experiencing accelerating physical demand globally (commodities) is inflating"


Really ?  Commodities speculation is never done on margin ? Uh huh...



equity_momo's picture

yes that is a big flaw in the article.

jblack010's picture

Where oh where is G. William Miller when we need him??

JR's picture

Pierre Deux, the French furnishings company that opened its first upscale shop in Greenwich Village in 1967, on Thursday abruptly shuttered all 23 stores nationwide and has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.  Chapter 7 provides for liquidation of assets.

I noticed the bankruptcy stickers on the display windows of PD yesterday in the trendy berg of Carmel by the Sea, California – overshadowing the imported French antique furniture and provincial fabrics inside.

Yes, Virginia, the economic sky is falling. 

All who proclaim that Bernanke’s stock market will save the economy, as the Fed pumps more and more money into the pockets of its favorite corporations and Wall Street families, apparently are wrong.  Pierre Deux was their kinda store, n’est-ce pas? Obama’s designated “rich,” the guy or gal earning “$150,000” or so in areas where a 1200 square foot house still sells for $600,000 and carries a $400,000 mortgage and a $9000 a year tax bill and who's supposedly getting richer by the day in the stock market, apparently has run out of "trickle-down."

I Stand Alone's picture

Isn't It true that in a true free market economy deflation (not the actual contraction money supply, but the lowering of prices as a result of production efficiency) is a good thing? Doesn't it increase the purchasing power of everyone,  and is especially beneficial to those who save? Look at the 19th century. While the value of the Dollar remained constant with respect to Gold and Silver, market and manufacturing efficiencies reduced the the actual cost of goods and services which meant that whhile those who saved were better off than those who did not, all generally benefited from the increased  purchasing power of their money.

The idea that Inflation is a more preferable evil than Deflation is plain propaganda dis-information. It only  seems to have any relevance in regards to the the [Federal] Reserve's boom and bust market manipulations. This is where they and their friends get to be the first to benefit from an Inflated the money supply, then cash in on the purchase of hard assets during the following Deflationarry bust afterwords.

It really is a very nice little scam if you're on the inside or have the resources to take advantave of the system.

UgglyBetty's picture

Sure it's better for savers, but not for Gov't that gathers inflation-adjusted taxes and pays fixed salaries to the public sector. People will always be encouraged to spend money instead of saving it, and the Govt will be happy to see wealth transfered from working people to the pockets of a few statesmen and cronies. Inflation is the best tool to concentrate wealth and redistribute poverty, that is one thing that we in third wolrd countries have learned for about 60 years now...

ZackLo's picture

Hyperinflation only end result...bernanke will print to buy bonds until foreigners get fed up buying those bonds to competitively devalue their currencies...the inflationary effects of QE will be the CAUSE of inflation on the margin compression side......then foreigners dump said bonds adventually 2 year hit's 30-50% bernanke panics and hit's the go button on his bloomberg terminal and it's game on! and anyone who thinks wigglemouth will let the 2 year hit 30-50% with out going print crazy to keep yields down has some screws lose to much political pressure will be on him to DO something and in the last gasp of fiat air it will ALL go up in smoke....but....the digital aspect of our money will be really interesting...if we do get cash everyone make sure to wipe your ass with hamiltons...national debt national blessing my ass!

GoldbugVariation's picture

A lot of different things are happening because of huge currency differences: US dollar depreciation, other currencies not so much.

Goods priced in US dollars look like they have experienced massive inflation.  Which I guess they have - and it's not just a US phenomenon as a good part of international trade is priced in US dollars.

Food price inflation is real, and seems to be universal.

In the UK, some anecdotal comments from me:

*  currency feels like it has been relatively stable for the past 12 months

*  we are seeing increased prices for all food types, many goods priced 10% higher than last year or stealth increases, maintaining the same price but less product in the package (for example, one big fruit juice producer recently switched to 750ml standard size cartons instead of 1000ml). 

*  taxes, energy, utility and transportation costs are all up noticeably since last year, this hits disproportionately the lower-middle-class segment of society, who therefore have less disposable income

*  welfare section of society didn't have much disposable income anyhow, but it probably not seeing much change - I don't see any signs of extreme poverty, nobody is starving in this country

*  wages are not generally rising because although employment is still high, there is a fear of future unemployment, therefore hiring is a "buyer's market"

*  the luxury end of things, the excessive froth, the ostentatious consumerism, which is being cut down the most - some businesses in this space seeing 30-50% declines.  People are no longer buying Cristal champagne or expensive wine with their restaurant meals.  Aston Martin sales are down 20-30%.  But, there is still a very large number of people in the UK with a lot of money, high incomes: huge parts of town where most cars are German or luxury; the high-end clothing stores are still busy; the opera is still sold-out, etc.

*   housing prices are rising in the most desirable areas, partly because of European and Arab buyers purchasing UK property as a hedge against future problems in their own countries - but in the 'frothy' areas where speculative development and 'buy to let' investment by non-professional investors was rife in mid/late 2000s, prices are still depressed and there is unsold inventory - so national average looks like prices are approximately stable, this masks true effect which is rising prices for any property which anyone would actually want to buy for themselves

Madcow's picture

forget about 'flation - this is a fiat money collapse pure and simple. 


jmc8888's picture

Yep it's both, and given what the kleptocrats do it can go either way definitively, of course, it can still correct massively the other way once one wins out.  So in the end, it will still be both.



Doyle Hargraves's picture

The long term trend is towards inflation $ has lost nearly 100% of its value since the fed has been its manager. Deflation is "transitory" (LMAO), central banks always need inflation to spur "growth". We have just been lucky that targeted inflation by the likes of the fed have not touched off hyperinflation...yet! The link is just the official number, we all know how reliable "official" numbers are now...