This sounds backwards

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by DKSuddeth, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    yahoo link

    Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday that U.S. companies were regaining the power to raise prices and that a long period of worry about the potential for price deflation was over.

    "It's fairly apparent that pricing power is gradually being restored and, as I'll indicate tomorrow, threats of deflation, which were a significant concern last year, by all indications, are no longer an issue for us," Greenspan said in answer to questions from lawmakers before the Senate Banking Committee.

    Greenspan said fast growth in U.S. productivity, or hourly output per worker, should keep a lid on price pressures for some time. That gives the Fed some leeway to take its time in raising rates back to what economists call a "neutral" stance -- between 3 and 4 percent -- rather than being forced by surging price pressures to increase credit costs.

    "The inflationary pressures will be reasonably well-contained so long as productivity is moving at a reasonably good clip and unit labor costs, as best as we can judge, are still going down," Greenspan said.


    So there it is folks, you and I are totally responsible for the economy upswing by working harder for less money.
    :rolleyes:
     
  2. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    So there it is folks, you and I are totally responsible for the economy upswing by working harder for less money. :rolleyes:









    He-he. I knew we could do it. If only we could lower the minimun wage to 5 bucks. Then we'd really be cruising!
     
  3. eric
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    What's backwards ???
     
  4. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    that the economy, which is supposed to be consumer driven right?, can only accelerate by the worker producing more while making less so companies can raise prices on their products to defeat inflation.

    that doesn't sound backwards?
     
  5. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Is deflation a good or a bad thing for industrial countries’ economies?

    Globalist Perspective > Global Economy
    Good Deflation and Bad Deflation _

    By Martin Hüfner | Wednesday, July 02, 2003 _

    Judging by the public debate in industrial countries, deflation is just about the worst thing that can happen to an economy — even more so than a recession. This is hard to understand. Theoretically, deflation means lower prices, something we all like. But as Martin Hüfner explains, there is a good form of deflation — and a bad one. What most people are talking about today, however, is bad deflation.
    elieve it or not, but "good" deflation is not such an unreal thing. After all, there are some sectors which grow — even though prices have been falling for a long time. Computer and cell phone manufacturers, for example. Television sets, refrigerators and cars are getting cheaper from year to year, if we factor in the improvements in quality.


    Sinking doubt


    As a matter of fact, there have been entire economies which have lived extremely well with sinking price levels over extended periods. One example is the United States in the period of industrialization in the second half of the 19th century.



    Deflation is bad when people hold back spending to save for an uncertain future — or in the expectation of lower prices.


    Even Japan on the whole seems to be coping fairly well with deflation, even though it encountered initial difficulties. Prices there have been falling for six consecutive years.


    And nonetheless, discount dealers and luxury chains, for example, report rising sales. Japan accounts for over half of the worldwide sales of luxury goods.


    Buildings are going up in Tokyo and the general impression one gains there is that people are not worse off than anywhere else.


    Consumer benefits?


    The companies suffering most from sinking prices are banks, mainly because collateral for loans is gradually becoming worth less and less. In addition, unemployment and public debt levels have been increasing.


    How does good deflation work? The theoretical model is very simple: Corporate productivity gains are not distributed to employees through wage increases. Instead, price decreases are passed on to consumers. Everyone profits from this, even those not actively involved in production.


    The path to good deflation


    For good deflation to work, what counts is that people have confidence in the future. In short, that they consume and invest according to their needs — and not according to their price expectations. People buy computers because they need them, despite the fact that they will be less expensive in the future.


    For Germany, the danger is not whether it may fall into deflation — but that it will be a good deflation and not a bad one.

    A second prerequisite is that there are no strong unions insisting on productivity gains for employees.


    And finally, debtors must hedge against falling prices, for instance through lower interest rates — just as creditors ask for higher interest rates in an inflationary environment.


    The beginning of a crisis


    As an example of bad deflation, we all remember the world economic crisis at the beginning of the 1930s.


    At that time, prices fell not because of productivity improvements — but because of lack of demand, triggered by the stock market crash.


    Reluctant buyers


    The consequence of lower prices was not that more money was spent, but that people were concerned about the future — and thus were reluctant to consume and invest.



    There have been entire economies which have lived extremely well with sinking price levels over extended periods.


    This, in turn, led to further falling prices, which made the general economic situation worse yet. Recession turned into depression. What is “bad” about bad deflation is therefore not the decline in prices as such — but its consequences.


    What people fear is a cumulative process of too little demand, falling prices and again even less demand. To diagnose bad deflation, we must look not just at prices — but take economic conditions in their entirety.


    Bye bye consumerism


    We have bad deflation when people are uncertain about the future, are afraid of losing their jobs, when government becomes over-indebted — and when people fear higher taxes. Then, they drive their cars one year longer and postpone a holiday because they have to save (saving out of fear) and/or hope prices will fall.


    Deflation began in Japan at the end of the 1990s when the government raised the value added tax (VAT) to counter huge increases in the country's public debt. Japanese taxpayers in turn reacted by reducing consumption.


    Conclusions


    So what to make of all of this?

    1. Do not fear deflation as such. It is only a symptom. Let us do something about the depressed mood, so that if price levels sink this will not lead to a downward spiral. In short, the specter of deflation is one more argument in favor of reform.


    Good deflation is very simple: Corporate productivity gains are not distributed to employees through wage increases. Rather, price decreases are passed on to consumers.


    2. If we should happen to live in a world without inflation in future (and there are indications that this is possible), there will always be a year here and there with lower prices. It is then all the more important that investors and consumers remain positive and do not give way to a pessimistic view. In a world without inflation — as positive as it would be per se — the danger of recession would increase.


    3. When prices fall, creditors mostly profit — and debtors mostly suffer. Banks must take steps in good times to hedge against falling prices.


    The German example


    In the case of Germany, inflation has fallen below 1%— coming very close to the technical definition of deflation.


    But at present, it is still the good form of deflation — because there are no signs that Germans are holding back demand because of price expectations. Price expectations on the contrary still point upwards.
    Is deflation a good or a bad thing for industrial countries’ economies?

    Globalist Perspective > Global Economy
    Good Deflation and Bad Deflation _

    By Martin Hüfner | Wednesday, July 02, 2003 _

    Judging by the public debate in industrial countries, deflation is just about the worst thing that can happen to an economy — even more so than a recession. This is hard to understand. Theoretically, deflation means lower prices, something we all like. But as Martin Hüfner explains, there is a good form of deflation — and a bad one. What most people are talking about today, however, is bad deflation.
    elieve it or not, but "good" deflation is not such an unreal thing. After all, there are some sectors which grow — even though prices have been falling for a long time. Computer and cell phone manufacturers, for example. Television sets, refrigerators and cars are getting cheaper from year to year, if we factor in the improvements in quality.


    Sinking doubt


    As a matter of fact, there have been entire economies which have lived extremely well with sinking price levels over extended periods. One example is the United States in the period of industrialization in the second half of the 19th century.



    Deflation is bad when people hold back spending to save for an uncertain future — or in the expectation of lower prices.


    Even Japan on the whole seems to be coping fairly well with deflation, even though it encountered initial difficulties. Prices there have been falling for six consecutive years.


    And nonetheless, discount dealers and luxury chains, for example, report rising sales. Japan accounts for over half of the worldwide sales of luxury goods.


    Buildings are going up in Tokyo and the general impression one gains there is that people are not worse off than anywhere else.


    Consumer benefits?


    The companies suffering most from sinking prices are banks, mainly because collateral for loans is gradually becoming worth less and less. In addition, unemployment and public debt levels have been increasing.


    How does good deflation work? The theoretical model is very simple: Corporate productivity gains are not distributed to employees through wage increases. Instead, price decreases are passed on to consumers. Everyone profits from this, even those not actively involved in production.


    The path to good deflation


    For good deflation to work, what counts is that people have confidence in the future. In short, that they consume and invest according to their needs — and not according to their price expectations. People buy computers because they need them, despite the fact that they will be less expensive in the future.


    For Germany, the danger is not whether it may fall into deflation — but that it will be a good deflation and not a bad one.

    A second prerequisite is that there are no strong unions insisting on productivity gains for employees.


    And finally, debtors must hedge against falling prices, for instance through lower interest rates — just as creditors ask for higher interest rates in an inflationary environment.


    The beginning of a crisis


    As an example of bad deflation, we all remember the world economic crisis at the beginning of the 1930s.


    At that time, prices fell not because of productivity improvements — but because of lack of demand, triggered by the stock market crash.


    Reluctant buyers


    The consequence of lower prices was not that more money was spent, but that people were concerned about the future — and thus were reluctant to consume and invest.



    There have been entire economies which have lived extremely well with sinking price levels over extended periods.


    This, in turn, led to further falling prices, which made the general economic situation worse yet. Recession turned into depression. What is “bad” about bad deflation is therefore not the decline in prices as such — but its consequences.


    What people fear is a cumulative process of too little demand, falling prices and again even less demand. To diagnose bad deflation, we must look not just at prices — but take economic conditions in their entirety.


    Bye bye consumerism


    We have bad deflation when people are uncertain about the future, are afraid of losing their jobs, when government becomes over-indebted — and when people fear higher taxes. Then, they drive their cars one year longer and postpone a holiday because they have to save (saving out of fear) and/or hope prices will fall.


    Deflation began in Japan at the end of the 1990s when the government raised the value added tax (VAT) to counter huge increases in the country's public debt. Japanese taxpayers in turn reacted by reducing consumption.


    Conclusions


    So what to make of all of this?

    1. Do not fear deflation as such. It is only a symptom. Let us do something about the depressed mood, so that if price levels sink this will not lead to a downward spiral. In short, the specter of deflation is one more argument in favor of reform.


    Good deflation is very simple: Corporate productivity gains are not distributed to employees through wage increases. Rather, price decreases are passed on to consumers.


    2. If we should happen to live in a world without inflation in future (and there are indications that this is possible), there will always be a year here and there with lower prices. It is then all the more important that investors and consumers remain positive and do not give way to a pessimistic view. In a world without inflation — as positive as it would be per se — the danger of recession would increase.


    3. When prices fall, creditors mostly profit — and debtors mostly suffer. Banks must take steps in good times to hedge against falling prices.


    The German example


    In the case of Germany, inflation has fallen below 1%— coming very close to the technical definition of deflation.


    But at present, it is still the good form of deflation — because there are no signs that Germans are holding back demand because of price expectations. Price expectations on the contrary still point upwards.


    For Germany, the danger is not whether it may fall into deflation — but that it will be a good deflation and not a bad one.
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    It's not got as much to do with labor wages as it does with pricing. Deflation is a very dangerous phenomenon, so most economists are comfortable with a low (1-3%) inflation rate. Actually, if real wages were down, consumer spending would be down, meaning that inventory would build and prices would have to go down to keep inventories from stockpiling. If prices continue to go down across the board - voila! deflation. So I would imagine that while productivity is up, real wages are also up, adding to companies' pricing power.
     
  7. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    RWA, let's hear an original thought form you instead of just cutting and pasting someone elses.

    If you want to post a link just do that.
     
  8. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    I found RWA's post worth reading though. Granted, by the rules of the forum, the link should have been posted and only part of the article with it, but that may not be possible. I've saved whole articles and the link with it, only to find the web page gone a month down the road. He credited the author and the date though, so that works for me.
     

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