Should Anyone Brag About a “Soft Landing?”

First, suppose an initially equilibrated economy.  Then, suppose that a lagging, though severe, inflation is effected by an injection of additional money, which is not correlated with, and is in excess of, the magnitudes and frequencies of the productive requirements of this economy,  If, finally, after the lagging, severely-damaging inflation, there is a  merely-gradual decline of the rate of inflation, do you think that anyone should brag about the achievement of a metaphorical “soft landing?”

The question and its answer involve several factors, including the quantity of new free money added (and perhaps later removed in part), whether the Fed manipulated interest rates (squeezing a balloon?), the velocity of circulation of the net new free money in two-circuits-plus-a-redistribution-pool, the time required to absorb the new free money gradually a) through the series constituting the chains of value-adding supply, b) through the levels of accelerator functions, and c) through the drawn-out and repetitive negotiations for higher compensation among brackets of lower and higher income groups to a new overall equilibrium at the likely-permanent, ratcheted-up, higher price levels.

It is worth considering here a few of the factors.

See Absorbing Several Trillion Dollars; Wishful Thinking vs. Scientific Macroeconomics v. Scientific Macroeconomics

Also see, when soon uploaded,: Outline and Key Concepts of CWL 15, Section 26: The Cycle of Basic Income, pp. 133-44; presently under construction

Again, suppose an initially equilibrated economic process.  Then, suppose excess money is injected and prices are inflated by 9% in year 1, 7% in year 2, 6% in year 3, 5% in year 4, 3% in year 5, and 2% in year 6, and thus, what had cost $100.00 initially finally costs $136.38.  That is, there was a) a cumulative inflation of 36.38%, b) the reduction of purchasing power of the dollar to 73.3% of what it had been initially, and c) the reduction of purchasing power by 26.7%.  At the end of year 6, rather than forthrightly contrast and emphasize the reduction of 26.7% over 6 years with a comparable rise and decline over, say, 2 years, should anyone proudly invoke the idea of a final gradual runway or brag about the achievement of a metaphorical soft landing?

In those 6 years, in addition to changes in purchasing power, there would have been changes in the distribution of incomes featuring relative winners and relative losers,  Some individuals’ incomes would have exceeded the inflation of 36.38% thus achieving a gain in purchasing power, some would have kept pace, and some would have fallen below the 36.38% suffering a loss of purchasing power.  In addition, despite an initial apparent boom signaled by higher prices, there may have been reductions of employment during the long interval of correction.

For many individuals, inflation is a swindle.

the dummy must be constant in exchange value, so that equal quantities continue to exchange, in the general case, for equal quantities of goods and services.  The alternative to constant value in the dummy is the alternative of inflation and deflation.  Of these famous twins, inflation swindles those with cash to enrich those with property or debts, while deflation swindles those with property or debts to enrich those with cash; in addition to the swindle each of these twins has his own way of torturing the dynamic flows; deflation gives producers a steady stream of losses; inflation yields a steady stream of gains to give production a drug-like stimulus. [CWL 21, 37-38]

the exchange value is the ratio or proportion in which are exchanged the different categories of objects for which men strive because they are useful and scarce… It is now necessary to state the necessary and sufficient condition of constancy or variation in the exchange value of the dummy.  To this end we compare two flows of the circulation: the real flow of property, goods, and services, and the dummy flow being given and taken in exchange for the real flow….Accordingly, the necessary and sufficient condition of constant value in the dummy lies in its concomitant variation with the real flow….More briefly, if there is concomitance between the two flows, then the proportion in which dummies and goods exchange remains the same.  (there is proper constancy of pricing)  If there is lack of concomitance, then this proportion changes.  (there is a deviation from the constancy of pricing)  But exchange value is a proportion.  Therefore, the concomitance of the two flows is the condition of constant exchange value. (CWL 21, 38-39)

The purchasing-power decline would have worked its way through the tiers [brackets, groups] of incomes.

The simplest manner of attaining a fairly adequate concept of basic income is to divide the economic community into an extremely large number of groups of practically equal income. … In any group i let there be at any given time ni members; let each member receive an aggregate (basic and surplus) income yi per interval, so that the whole group receives niyi; finally, let us say that the group directs the fraction wi of its total income to the basic demand function, so that basic income per interval is given by the equation

I’ = Σwiniyi

… and so one obtains for the increment per interval of basic income the simpler equation

δI’ = Σ (wiδni + niδwi)yi   Ftnt 189

where ni includes the adjustment due to migration.  We shall consider in turn variations in basic income in virtue of  δni  and variations in virtue of δwi . … Hence, in migrations from low to less-low income groups, most of the increment of individual total income becomes an increment of basic income; but in migrations from high to still higher income groups, most of the increment of individual total income becomes an increment of surplus income.  Evidently, then, suitable migrations are a means of providing adjustments in the community’s rate of saving.  To increase the rate of saving, increase the income of the rich; while they may be too distant from the current operations of the economic process to judge, at least they can put their money into the bank or bonds or stocks, and perhaps others there will see how it can best be used.  To decrease the rate of saving, increase the income of the poor. … The foregoing is the fundamental mode of adjusting the rate of saving to the phases of the productive cycle. …(and) this fundamental mode of adjustment is complemented by a further mechanism of automatic correction.  (price changes) (CWL 15, 133-134)

(See Facing Facts: The Ideal of Constant Value vs. The Fact of Inflation)

(See also when uploaded: Outline and Key Concepts of CWL 15, Section 26: The Cycle of Basic Income, pp. 133-44; presently under construction)

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