Even When There Is Inflation, the Fed STILL Fights Falling Prices
Under any remotely sound money regime the aftermath of war and/or pandemic is highly likely to feature a sharp decline in the prices of goods and services on average. Even under unsound money regimes there are powerful forces operating towards lower prices once the war/pandemic recedes. Strong injections of monetary inflation, however, can overpower them.
The Fed and all the foreign central banks which follow its lead and/or doctrines are apparently of the intention that this time the decline in prices will not take place. Instead, they state the aim of their monetary policies, to be achieved within two years, as a decline of the inflation rate from present near-term highs to 2 percent.
In combatting the powerful “natural rhythm” of prices downwards in the aftermath of pandemic and war we should expect the Fed and foreign central banks to marshal a tremendous amount of monetary power. That will occur beyond an intermission where central banks are ostensibly trying to rein back the monetary inflation which has reached its peak virulence in 2021–22.
Precise measurement of monetary inflation, including its stages, is impossible under the present monetary regime where the supply and demand conditions for monetary base—and the attributes of base money—have been deeply corrupted. In thinking about the next monetary inflation injections, history provides considerable insight.
The aftermaths of supply shocks are full of inflation danger, even though recession intervenes and mitigates this for some time. Monetary inflation has accompanied all the great supply shocks and sometimes preceded them as in the present case of pandemic and war. Here monetary inflation stretches all the way back to 2012/13.
In the aftermath of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic (1918–19), US consumer prices fell by around 20 percent (from mid-1920 to end-1921). The fall in prices stemmed both from deliberate monetary deflation (starting in late 1919 as the Benjamin Strong–dominated
Article from Mises Wire