No, Deflation Is Not A "Danger"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man blog,

The 'Deflation Danger' Should Abate …

What is it with this perennial fear the chief money printers have of falling prices? Not that we are likely to see it happen, but if it does, what of it? Bloomberg reports on the recent ECB decision with the following headline: Draghi Says Deflation Danger Should Abate as Economy Revives

The headline alone is a hodge-podge of arrant nonsense. First of all, 'deflation' (this is to say, falling prices), is not a 'danger'. Speaking for ourselves and billions of earth's consumers: we love it when prices fall! It means our incomes go further and our savings will buy more as well. What's not to love?

The problem is of course that when prices decline, the 'wrong' sectors of society actually benefit, while those whose bread is buttered by the inflation tax would no longer benefit at the expense of everybody else. But they never say that, do they? Has Draghi ever explained why he believes deflation to be a danger? No, we are just supposed to know/accept that it is.

Secondly, the 'as economy revives' part makes no sense whatsoever. Why and how should a genuinely reviving economy produce inflation? Economic growth occurs when more goods and services are produced. Their prices should, ceteris paribus, fall (of course, we are not supposed to inquire too deeply into which ceteris likely won't remain paribus if Draghi gets his wish).


From Bloomberg:


“ European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled that deflation risks in the euro region are easing for now after new forecasts showed that inflation will approach their target by the end of 2016.


The news that has come out since the last monetary policy meeting are by and large on the positive side,” he told reporters in Frankfurt today after the central bank kept itsmain interest rate at 0.25 percent. He also indicated that money markets are under control at the moment, lessening the need for emergency liquidity measures.


Draghi is facing down the threat of deflation in an economy still recovering from a debt crisis that threatened to rip it apart less than two years ago. New ECB forecasts today underscore his view that the 18-nation bloc will escape a Japan-style period of falling prices as momentum in the economy improves.”


(emphasis added)

We have highlighted the sentence above because we keep reading about the 'Japan-style deflation trap' for many, many years now. You would think that Japan was a third world country by now the way this keeps being portrayed as a kind of monetary evil incarnate that destroys the economy. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.


Inflation is Not Equivalent to Economic Growth

'Inflation' is not the same as 'economic growth' – on the contrary, it both causes and frequently masks economic retrogression. How much inflation has there been in the euro area over time? Let's have a look.



Euro Area TMS-a

The euro area's true money supply since 1980. One can only shudder at this depiction of 'deflation danger' in action – click to enlarge.



What about prices though? Let's have a look-see:



HCPI-LT-wow chart

Since 1960, there was exactly one year during which prices according to the 'CPI' measure actually fell, namely in 2009, by a grand total of 0.5% – click to enlarge.



As Austrian economists have long explained, it is simply untrue that prices must rise for the economy to grow. Consumers obviously benefit from falling prices (only Keynesian like Paul Krugman don't realize that, as their thought processes are evidently unsullied by logic and/or common sense). All of us can easily ascertain how beneficial the decline in computer prices, cell- and smart phone prices, prices for TV screens, etc. is. Naturally, it would be even better if all prices fell, not only those on a select group of consumer goods.

What about producers? Won't they suffer? By simply looking at the share prices and earnings of the companies that make all the technological gadgets the prices of which have been continually declining for decades, everybody should realize immediately that the answer must be a resounding NO. This is by the way not only true of the firms that are in the final stages of the production process, i.e. the stages closest to the consumer. It is obviously also true for the firms in the higher stages of the capital structure. But why? It is quite simple actually: prices are imputed all along the chain of production. What is important for these companies to thrive are not the nominal prices of the products they sell, but the price spreads between their input and output.

In fact, the computer/electronics sector is the one that comes closest to showing us how things would likely look in a free, unhampered market economy.

Of course, in said free, unhampered market economy, Mr. Draghi and a host of other central planners would have to look for a new job.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

A dangerous and plausible scenario is deflation first, then hyperinflation.  


Beware and prepare™

Goatboy's picture

With deflation everything falls, including prices *and* wages. Everything shrinks and societal dynamics start digressing towards feudalism and beyond.

Stupidity of this article could only be excused if its propaganda meant to topple western narrative and dominance. Toppling of US's "socialism for the rich" is probably most likely from libertardian ignorance perspective which has its sick roots deep into American psyche.

LooseLee's picture

Please LEARN that deflation is NATURAL and Inflation is MAN MADE.

National Blessing's picture

Deflation isn't a problem--unless you are heavily invested in gold.  Then deflation sucks giant ass.  Bitches.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Gold did very well in the Great Depression, IIRC.  

Korean bearings will do well in our Great Depression v. 2.



(fun blog)

Occident Mortal's picture

Deflation is very bad news when you are $17 trillion in debt.

It causes the debt to GDP ratio to gape, and more importantly...

The cost of servicing the debt to GDP ratio becomes more and more burdensome.

bugs_'s picture

here in the Deflationists' Lounge we think that when you are $17 Trillion in debt that is the moment Deflation will come callin'

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Occident, bugs,

There is essentially nothing we can do as individuals re our national debt.  But we can take care of our own debts.  

GOTS (Sinclair´s "Get Out of The System"), get out of debt and get into gold.

Look out for you and yours.  

You two and I are unable to save the rest.  

mumbo.jumbo's picture

There's one important thing you can do: call it properly their debt. I wasn't there, didn't promise anything, didn't have any influence... so, it's their debt, not mine. And I highly suspect the same applies to you.

jbvtme's picture

it's 1975...i pay $150/mo rent. own a newish car for $3500. gas $.57. i make $25/hr as a carpenter (although i can only find work may thru october). $1200. car $35,000. gas $4. carpenter's wage $50/hr.  my call is deflation, especially in real estate.

Seb's picture

But you can't eat bearings (nor gold)!


nickels's picture

Inflation is the vig orchestrated by the military-industrial complex.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Wages per hour and hours workable (on offer from employer) are already dropping like a rock. You actually think it can get worse? There's a record number of people getting a wage of ZERO. You think that can go lower? Tell me how, genius.

Poor Grogman's picture

Deflation against what though?

The only meaningful metric would be one where fiat gains value in terms of gold, this has already been going on since gold nearly hit 2000.

For this type of " deflation" to continue, is a bit of a stretch I think, unless deliberately set into motion by a tightening of the money supply, (volker)

Yes a type of controlled deflation could be orchestrated while central planners have the keys to the fiat money tree, but the political pressure against such a thing would be immense ( japan).

The fact is that the planners have control of the money supply, but do not have much control of the commodity supply, therefore everything must be viewed in those terms.

I see Inflation as far as the eye can see, with isolated and overhyped bouts of lower inflation, which eventually lead into runaway inflation as resource extraction cost pressures eventually become overwhelming.

Still plenty of opportunities while the process unfolds though.

NoDebt's picture

In a fractional reserve banking system you can most definitely have deflation even if there is no change to the base money supply.  That's part of what happened in 2008.  The other part being the much more sinister collapse of a (theoretically) infinite asset rehypothecation chain.  One is limited in its multiplication abilities by the reserve ratio requirement, the other has (again, theoretically) no limits.  When either one or both of those things start to back up the levererage effect goes into revers and money is "destroyed", potentially causing deflation.


Poor Grogman's picture

Agree that 1930 style deflation is a theoretical possibility,

However the reality is that we live under a centralised money control system. So strong sudden and unexpected deflation would result in ctrl-p being used, therefore, although not certain, we may just see a continuation of more patchy weak deflation in geared assets ( such as stocks housing and retail) against a backdrop of increasing commodity, and food price inflation.

There is always a black swan possibility, but outside one of those, our present ridiculous monetary system, seems to work quite well as a wealth transfer mechanism for the elite, and therefore will continue until all real wealth has been co-opted into feeding the machine either as a form of collateral for rehypothecation. Or as taxable income that can be hit from multiple taxation directions.

Either way, for the individual, gold wins in the end.

TheReplacement's picture

What happens when the wealth transfer system can no longer pay the salaries of those who facilitate it withouth digging into the wealth that has been accumulated by TPTB?  There has be be some % of potentialities where gold has no bearing at all.  Don't forget brass, lead, and seeds.

Poor Grogman's picture

Gold will only facilitate trade, and thus allow a functioning economy, with savings, and people who specialise in trades that do not directly put food on the table.

If there is no functioning economy of any sort, then gold is no use whatsoever.

But it is hard to imagine a total cessation of economic activity. It is easy to imagine a failure in localised areas, but regions, countries, and groups will all fare differently.

Gold will undoubtedly be accepted somewhere, and those places where it is accepted will be the places where you will want to be living, as there will be goods to buy and sell, and work for those people who have skills.

Economically, it is possible to imagine, that once gold is mobile again and circulating freely, a new form of more stable economy could quickly flourish.

Brass lead and seeds will always have value, ( except if weevils get into the seeds that is).

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Well, almost, but like Congress delegated money-making powers to the Federal Reserve, they abdicated total control to partial control so that issuance of credit (e.g. loans) now belongs with minion-banks like Goldman & JP Morgan, with the added twist they are also partial controllers of the Fed. See, any time they aren't 100% on the same page as each other, like just a misunderstanding or a miscalculation, they can each play a role in causing a collapse.

Causing collapse is easier than you think. It's not like a black swan is something unlikely.

These are fuckers drunk on power & free money playing Jenga by shooting at the blocks with pellet guns and someone's had a line of coke with their (tall) glass of Jack and has decided it's time to use a .45 instead of a pellet gun.

When that Jenga game fails as they all do, that's your black swan. So who did the line of coke? Jamie "I'm Richer than You are" or maybe it's Lloyd "Doing God's Work" Blankfucker...

These are people made careless by easy rides & immunity. That means they don't give a flying fuck if the monkeys run out of bananas as long as they keep what's around their local protection grid in stable formation.

They normally wouldn't be so dumb but when you take away all other predators & they don't even have to hunt hard for their meals, as with anything in nature, you start to get slow, fatter animals.

You know how nature (not people but nature itself) loves them slow animals.

OM, nom.

No, we won't do well out of this. But it's as good as done.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Volcker's era didn't have all these derivatives.

There's one key new advantage: if someone wants massive deflation that person need only crash all the derivatives & to do the most damage to assign them fiscal liability inside of pension plans, bank accounts & the total balance sheets of various nonTBTF banks.

That would simultaneously deflate the money supply by 0.1 to 0.8 quadrillion & would leave the most powerful untouched.

daxtonbrown's picture

Even more likely is raisin muffin inflation AND deflation - i.e. biflation.

GDP = M * V

What you get is inflation of everything you need with concurrent crushing of monetary velocity. Business just grinds to a halt and wages and income falls. The worst of all worlds, a Biflationary depression.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Inflation is a hidden tax that made most of the oligarchs rich, and that keeps them rich.  Period, end of story.  

Harbanger's picture

Wrong!  Inflation is how statists keep financing the unsustainable welfare state until it goes bust.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The welfare state is what keeps the oligarchs in control while they rape and pillage the productive segment.  When it goes bust, the oligarchs build factories with outdoor trampolines.   You are correct that inflation pays for the welfare state, but you are wrong about the motive and especially wrong about who is driving the train.  But then again, how's Boca Raton these days?

Harbanger's picture

The rich boogieman ain't driving the train, he's riding it.  I hope Boca is doing well, unfortunately some of my worse investments were in Forida.

LetThemEatRand's picture

How do you define rich?  I agree that those who are rich only in comparison to the average middle class are riding the train to ruin.  The driver's wealth is measured in billions or maybe trillions.   You know, the guys who kept the money you lost on your investments in Boca.

Harbanger's picture

Those are globalists, calling them "the rich" plays into the same leftist class meme that made us dependent on bankers.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You used the word "rich" as a noun, not me.  I called them oligarchs who are rich.  You then said that I used the "rich versus poor" meme.  I then called you out for using the term "rich" to define anyone who has more money than the middle class.  So I guess you're arguing with yourself.

Harbanger's picture

Oh, I thought you said it made them and keeps them rich.  Whatever, the emphasis is always that they're rich.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I'll simplify my language for you in the future if you like.  

Harbanger's picture

OK, Thanks.  I forgive you and still love you, even though after all you're just a Lola.

LetThemEatRand's picture

And when all else fails, personal attack coupled with self-promotion of your own pseudo righteousness.  Well played.

fonzannoon's picture

Give me a sec. I 'm going to link something I once got from a 1%er. You guys might find it interesting,

Harbanger's picture

Don't link that new flying skateboard crap.  I can't believe the shit you fall for.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I've resisted downvoting you until now for the preemptive strawman.  Scared of what he's going to post, are you?

fonzannoon's picture

When you replied you kept me from linking it you putz. It was a fake which is good because you could not afford it anyway with your massive funding of the progessive agenda so you can finally be on the winning team.

Anyway this was sent to me not too long ago by a 1%er. Fwiw. I thought it was interesting


" I want to explain to you as well as I can, why if you think it through, there is no chance the 1% have anything in mind for the masses other than the Wall-E scenario.  And let me just say I have heard it all from the simple- ‘they are gonna take our pensions’ to Alex Jones’ mass cullings and the FEMA camps. None of that is going to happen. Keep your tin foil hat on for a minute though, because I am going to put on my 1% hat for the rest of this email and explain to you why we have no interest in ‘doing away’ or even pissing off the masses in any way.   It comes down to what Balzac once said:   “Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other”   What you do not understand is how we are totally aware of how we depend on the masses. All we care about is our own privilege, as long as we have that we could give a shit about the rest of the world, we only care about ourselves and satisfying our want for folly and one upsmanship. ( This is it, as long as we have that we couldn’t give a rats ass about the rest of you- all we want is for Zabars to have a minimum selection of 20 caviars (we want globalization as that means MOAR luxury goods).   We do not like social upheaval- you know why? Not only does it create unpredictable consequences for our elegant system that keeps us where we are, but if you look at history, all times of even minimal social upheaval have caused social mobility- ie when the poor have sudden opportunities to become rich, and for the rich to fall from their ranks. A perfect system to us is one that limits social mobility at a pace acceptable to us. We can accept some new blood among the 1% and kick a few (David) Siegels out now and then (the NY social register has seen families come and go all the time), but there can be no sudden changes we aren’t prepared for. So this is why we want things running smoothly and not just from one economic crash to the next.   Then let me explain to you why we will never “cull” or do away with the masses. If anything we need way, way more of them.  Why would that be you ask? Because it takes 6 billion people+ just to produce the few million (the cream of the crop if you will) that we really need to keep us happy. Let me explain to this to you in statistical terms:   Out of an ordinary pool of a million people from the masses:   -Maybe 100 out of 500,000 women will be attractive enough to become a $1000 per hour hooker, and I don’t do less than 2 at a time.. I know the Japanese are working round the clock on sex robots, but for now I’ll have to pass. Besides we still need attractive women from the masses to be our many mistresses and make us happy as we approach old age. And even if we did only intermarry amongst our 1% selves (and then you’d end up looking like Prince Charles), which we don’t, its still good to have hot women around, you know? So the masses are needed by the truckload just to produce a small ore of hot women.   -Out of the 500,000 men, maybe only 10,000 would be smart enough to design a Porsche, and those babies aren’t going to design themselves… Plus when I get a disease I expect a small army working on a cure for me…   -Out of the total million, maybe 10% are skilled enough with their hands to ‘handmake’ all my luxury goods. And even my mistresses, who are of the masses, demand their leather goods to be handmade.  So robots and automation in factories are great, but I demand there is some artisan who personally crafts my shoes, my watch, my clothes, my car, my haircut, etc. etc. We only want the best, you see, and mass production just can never offer it by definition. Robots are never going to be able to hand restore the frescoes in my villa, or cook me a Heston Blumenthal feast of whimsy.   -Then we like entertainment just as much as everyone, so we need a huge proportion of these people working in some form of the entertainment industry, because I want movies just like everyone, my kids want videogames, just like everyone. You know how big of a population you need just to get a few good looking and/or talented people that you can put on tv?   -Then I hope for my childrens sake that they will have Rosie the Robot (from the Jetsons) to replace those awful maids and butlers (they judge us when they go home and then spread gossip, who wants that…) I have to hire right now to clean up after everyone. But right now I need a small army to clean up my dogshit, open my limousine door, each of us needs a stewardess of our own on the Learjet, etc etc. Just the lawn on my house requires a gardening team of 12. Again, I hope for my childrens sake the topiary can be ably performed by robots in the future, but for right now, we have to hire that gardening team to keep the trees looking like elephants. So we need 200k from the million just to be our servants and maintain our little ‘eloi’ bubble existence, until hopefully robots can replace them.   -Then we need a massive chunk of people just to protect us. That is why we have organized the mafia to end all mafias: law enforcement. Check mate. So we need a big proportion of those people just to staff this law enforcement network. Then I need private security. Those little punks smashed the windows in one of the beach houses I haven’t gotten around to visiting for 5 years now and so I need a security team just to watch over it…   -Then you need a massive chunk of these people to staff the MIC so our system isn’t in any external danger and we keep calling the shots worldwide by ultimately resting most military power in a place where we have a good grip on it.   See what I mean, pretty soon, from the million people, many are all involved in our own quest to maintain our privilege, and we understand that we depend on them to realize this. The ones that we don’t want, well that is exactly why we created the free shit army in the first place, so they can have a shopping mall to shuffle around in while we go about our 3-hooker orgies. Remember we cant have these people threatening our notion of social mobility by getting uppity, so we have to organize a whole entertainment system for them to keep them distracted, not to mention a massive political system where they can fight with each other over the bones we toss them.   So you understand where this goes:   We need 6 billion people just to produce the few hundred million that sustain our bubbles (our maids and doormen, and chefs and waiters, and hookers and entertainers, our security guards, and cops and soldiers), and then we need to skim off the cream of the masses, the 10% with the highest IQs, to run our shit for us so we don’t have to (make our porsches and learjets, and our botox injections, and our handmade leather iphone cases- all of which robots can never do). So you cant just do away with the masses or else we wouldn’t get all the above, and at the same time, we can’t afford to let them get uppity (that threatens our stability). So the only answer was the free shit army, and it doesn’t cost us a cent, its actually the reverse. The more the free shit army grows from year to year, the more proportionately rich we actually become!   So the detritus of the masses we don’t need we will stick in little pods just like in Wall-E. Similar to the matrix for them, except we will not be so stupid as to impose those pods on them, we will let them design their own pods, and trust me, they will come out looking just like in Wall-E."
LetThemEatRand's picture

You left out the signed, "Harbanger."


fonzannoon's picture

I think it kind of fell somewhere in the middle of what you guys wre discussing. I was not picking sides because you two were not really arguing. I just figured i'd throw it out there because I believe that is the mindset of many of the super wealthy. That person seems to think that the FSA is sustainable. I think the one thing all of us have in common is we all agree it's unsustainable.

LetThemEatRand's picture

My two cents is that it's the mindset of the semi-wealthy.  Say $10-$25M net.  Many of that set believe they are part of the club.  Which is why I wondered if Harbanger wrote it.  My impression of Harbanger is that he/she lost several million out of many more, and thinks it is the fault of the poor without realizing where that money actually went.

fonzannoon's picture

I hear you. I'm not talking about the top 50 families. I don't know what the definition of semi wealthy is. I am talking about people making hundreds of millions.

I believe that we are rapidly heading, of not already at, a scenario where you have 1% making all the money. The next 9% doing pretty well servicing that 1%. The stock market is the reward to those 9%. Then you have the free shit army. Broke, clueless, but with an Iphone.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I think it's a 50/50 whether the truly wealthy (the billionaires up) want to cull the herd.  The 1% mostly realize that the herd is to their benefit.  The .01% don't necessarily need us.

NoDebt's picture

Small number of rich, large number of poor, just enough middle class to service the rich.  As it has been in most societies throughout most of human history.  (And probably the most stable societal structure).

You've finally come around to believing me, I think.  And yes, we're pretty much already there.

Harbanger's picture

Sorry Lola. I donate time and money for the poor.  I blame Liberals and progressives.

SAT 800's picture

It's always a good idea to remember that you might be wrong. If you have one thing in common that you believe it; it's almost guaranteed to be wrong. Reality is not determined by voting and it doesn't give a rat's ass what your collective opinion is. this validation of ideas and memes by "voting"; by the numbers that agree with you is the primary sickness of the age; it replaces education and the hard work of critical thinking. but of course, it's a defecxtive replacement.

nightshiftsucks's picture

Yep,without us slaves they don't have shit.They go on vacation and nobody there to cook,clean and make drinks,what kind of life is that ?

SAT 800's picture

It's not really believable. The error in specifying that 10% of the population can be design engineers is a particularly foolish mistake; although I'm willing to believe in ignorant and uneducated ultra-wealthy, most educated people understand that the top 10% are the Capitains in the Army, the Centurions in the Legion, it's the top 1% that design things, and the top 1/10 of 1% who design Porsches.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

You beat me to it.

In addition, the writing style is horrendous. Apart from the glaring grammatical errors, what one percenter would be using the juvenile high school drop out phrase of "I could care less"  when trying to imply the opposite?. What one percenter would bother linking to bloody youtube videos and shit to try and prove their point.

To me it read like one of those facebook posts that gets shared endlessly without question (Sorry Fonz)

fonzannoon's picture

Hahaha no worries. No offense taken. It's too bad you are caught up in grammar etc. I don't give much of a shit about grammar and neither does he.  As far as "What one percenter would bother linking to bloody youtube videos and shit to try and prove their point." The answer is a 1%er who can relate to everyone on here and speaks our language. Outside of that I think the accuracy of what he is saying is pretty much spot on. That's all. This was about how the 1% see the world, and I think he did a decent job of illustrating it.