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Goods Inflation, Asset Inflation, and the Greatest Peacetime Inflation in the US

Abstract

In every episode of global monetary inflation originating in the Federal Reserve, we find both asset price inflation and goods inflation. The interrelationship between these two types of inflation depends both on cycle-specific factors and more general factors which transcend the cycle and stem from essential aspects of monetary disorder. The purpose of this article is to analyse the nature of this interrelationship and elaborate on the concepts of monetary disorder, goods inflation, and asset inflation. In today’s world of monetary systems where there is no stable demand for high-powered money (which itself is no longer a highly distinct asset) monetary disorder can be hard to recognize until quite late in the inflationary process. Asset price inflation now has a popular meaning quite different from the original found in Austrian business cycle theory. Two decades of widespread inflation targeting at around 2% per annum have encouraged us to ignore an old lesson. In a well-functioning capitalist economy under a sound money order, prices would fluctuate considerably upwards and downwards with a tendency to revert to the mean over the very long run. Finally the principles and hypotheses developed here are analysed in the laboratory of history, specifically for the greatest peacetime inflation in the U.S. (1963–80).

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Correspondence to Brendan Brown.

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Brown, B. Goods Inflation, Asset Inflation, and the Greatest Peacetime Inflation in the US. Atl Econ J 45, 429–442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11293-017-9560-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11293-017-9560-8

Keywords

  • Asset price inflation
  • Sound money
  • U.S. peacetime inflation

JEL

  • B53
  • N12
  • G01
  • G02
  • E31
  • E42