Here’s Why Rip-Roaring Inflation Is Inevitable…(Got Food!?)

Saturday, August 4, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Sat, 08/04/2018

The stability of America’s status quo is illusory.

One of the enduring mysteries of the past decade is why inflation has remained tame while the central bank and government have pumped trillions of dollars of newly created money into the economy. Millions of words have been written about this, and so some shortcuts will have to be taken to make sense of it in one essay.

Let’s start with the basics.

1. Adding newly created money but not generating new goods and services of the same value reduces the purchasing power of existing money. To keep it simple: say the economy of a country is $20 trillion. (Hey, the US GDP is $20 trillion…) Say its money supply is $10 trillion.

So banks and/or the government create $2 trillion in new money but the value of goods and services only expands by $1 trillion. the “extra” $1 trillion of newly created money (either “printed” or borrowed into existence) reduces the value of all existing money.

In effect, the new money robs purchasing power from all existing money.Those holding existing money have lost purchasing power while the recipients of the new money receive purchasing power they didn’t have prior to receiving the new money.

We can see how this works by looking at a chart of GDP to debt. As debt has soared (and remember, debt is “new money” that was loaned into existence), GDP has risen at a much lower rate, so the ratio of debt to GDP has skyrocketed. (see chart below)

2. Where “inflation” (higher prices for the same item) shows up depends on who gets the newly created money: the wealthy few or the wage-earning many. As I have explained many times, in our system, all newly issued money goes to banks, financiers and corporations–the super-wealthy few.

So what do already-wealthy people and companies do with trillions in new money? They buy assets–stocks and bonds and real estate. Wage earners who receive new money tend to save some of it but they also spend some of it. The super-wealthy and corporations already own more stuff than they know what to do with, so they spend the new money on income producing assets or stock buybacks.

The net result of giving all the new money to the wealthy is the inflation of an asset bubble, which is precisely what’s happened in the past decade. Real estate: bubble. Corporate debt: bubble. Stocks: bubble. We can see this bubble by comparing the value of the stock market to the real economy (as measured by GDP): the higher the ratio of stocks to GDP, the greater the bubble.

Look at the chart below. The current stock market bubble is the greatest in history, exceeded only by the insanity of the last few months of the dot-com bubble, when companies with very little revenue and zero profits were valued in the billions of dollars.

Stocks are in a bubble, period. This is the inevitable result of shoveling all the new money into the hands of the wealthy and corporations. Real-world inflation is certainly higher than official inflation, but the real inflation (higher prices for the same item) is in assets, which have tripled or quadrupled in a mere decade.

3. The inevitable consequence of asset inflation is rising income and wealth inequality. The wealthy few have gorged on assets with all the newly issued credit-money, and as the assets soared in value, they’ve become immensely wealthier.

The Rest…HERE

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