Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market House Prices Bull Market Trend Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver End of Week Technical, CoT and Fundamental Status - Gary_Tanashian
3.Stock Market Dow Trend Forecast - April Update - Nadeem_Walayat
4.When Will the Stock Market’s Rally Stop? - Troy_Bombardia
5.Russia and China Intend to Drain the West of Its Gold - MoneyMetals
6.BAIDU (BIDU) - Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Investing To Profit from AI Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Stop Feeding the Chinese Empire - ‘Belt and Road’ Trojan Horse - Richard_Mills
8.Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
9.US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - Richard_Mills
10.How to Invest in AI Stocks to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Silver Short-Term Trend Analysis - 26th June 19
Iran and the Dying Days Of the US Empire - 26th June 19
Why a Saturated Online Gaming Market Spells Good News for Gamblers - 26th June 19
Natural Gas Sets Up Bottom Pattern - 26th June 19
Has Gold Price Broken Out Or Not? Technicals And Fundamentals - 26th June 19
Stocks and XAU Gold Miners Next Bull and Bear Markets are Now Set Up - 26th June 19
Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Video - 25th June 19
Today’s Pets.com and NINJA Loan Economy - 25th June 19
Testing the Fed’s Narrative with the Fed’s Data: QT Edition - 25th June 19
What "Pro Traders" use to Find Profitable Trades - eBook - 25th June 19
GDX Gold Stocks ETF - 25th June 19
What Does Facebook’s LIBRA New Crytocurrency Really Offer? - 25th June 19
Why Bond Investors MUST Be Paying Attention to Puerto Rico - 25th June 19
The Next Great Depression in the Making - 25th June 19
The Bad News About Record-Low Unemployment - 24th June 19
Stock Market New High, but…! - 24th June 19
Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally Ends - 24th June 19
How To Time Market Tops and Bottoms - 24th June 19
5 basic tips to help mitigate the vulnerability inherent in email communications - 24th June 19
Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - 24th June 19
Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - 23rd June 19
Financial Sector Paints A Clear Picture For Stock Market Trading Profits - 23rd June 19
What You Should Look While Choosing Online Casino - 23rd June 19
INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - 22nd June 19
Here’s Why You Should Drive a Piece of Crap Car - 22nd June 19
How Do Stock Prices React to Fed Interest Rate Cuts? - 22nd June 19
Gold Bull Market Breaking Out! - 21st June 19
Post-FOMC Commentary: Delusions of Grandeur - 21st June 19
Gold Scores Gains as Draghi and Powel Grow Concerned - 21st June 19
Potential Upside Targets for Gold Stocks - 21st June 19
Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - 21st June 19
The Gold (and Silver) Volcano Is Ready to Erupt - 21st June 19
Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged – Gold & Stocks Rally/Dollar Falls - 21st June 19
Silver Medium-Term Trend Analysis - 20th June 19
Gold Mining Stocks Waiting on This Chart - 20th June 19
A Key Gold Bull Market Signal - 20th June 19
Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - 20th June 19
Investing in APPLE (AAPL) to Profit From AI Machine Learning Stocks - 20th June 19
Small Cap Stocks May Lead A Market Rally - 20th June 19 -
Interest Rates Square Minus Zero - 20th June 19
Advice for Financing a Luxury Vehicle - 20th June 19
Stock Market Final Blow Off Top Just Hit… Next Week Comes the FIREWORKS - 20th June 19
US Dollar Rallies Off Support But Is This A Top Or Bottom? - 19th June 19
Most Income Investors Are Picking Up Nickels in Front of a Steamroller - 19th June 19
Is the Stock Market’s Volatility About to Spike? - 19th June 19
Facebook's Libra Crypto currency vs Bitcoin: Five Key Differences - 19th June 19
Fed May Trigger Wild Swing In Stock Index and Precious Metals - 19th June 19
How Long Do Land Rover Discovery Sport Brake Pads Last? - 19th June 19
Gold Golden 'Moment of Truth' Is Upon Us: $1,400-Plus or Not? - 18th June 19
Exceptional Times for Gold Warrant Special Attention - 18th June 19
The Stock Market Has Gone Nowhere and Volume is Low. What’s Next - 18th June 19
Silver Long-Term Trend Analysis - 18th June 19
IBM - Watson Deep Learning - AI Stocks Investing - Video - 18th June 19
Investors are Confident, Bullish and Buying Stocks, but… - 18th June 19
Gold and Silver Reversals – Impossible Not to Notice - 18th June 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Gold Price Trend Forecast Summer 2019

The Business Boom-Bust Cycle in Microcosm

Economics / Economic Theory Nov 08, 2010 - 12:31 PM GMT

By: George_Reisman

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThe essential features of the boom-bust business cycle can be understood by viewing them in terms of the financial circumstances of a single individual.

Thus, imagine that an ordinary person has been going about his life more or less living within his means. And now, one day, he receives a registered letter from a major bank. The letter informs him that he is the sole heir of a distant relative who possessed a substantial fortune, and that he should come into the bank's main office in his city to sign the necessary documents and receive all the necessary authorizations to henceforth dispose of this fortune as he sees fit. Naturally, he quickly goes in and takes possession of his newfound fortune.


Whether the fortune in question is $100 million or $10 million, it is certain to have a major impact on this individual's life from this point forward. For it opens up new worlds to him by enabling him to now afford to buy things he could never dream of buying before. He can now afford a new home, perhaps a mansion. He can buy a whole new wardrobe, travel the world, quit any job that he currently has and does not love.

If he is in business, he can expand his business in major ways. If he is not in business, he can start a significant-sized business. And he can now afford to invest and speculate in the stock and real-estate markets as well, inasmuch as his newfound wealth makes it possible for him no longer to fear losses of mere hundreds or thousands of dollars; indeed, it appears that he can now afford to lose even a million dollars and still be very rich.

This is the boom period for our individual. His life is easy. He can do so much more than he had ever been able to do before. And his prospects appear limitless. For the rest of his life, he will look back upon this period with the greatest fondness and ardently wish to relive it. It is "the good times."

The Bust

What puts an end to our individual's life of ease is a second letter. This letter explains that it has now been proven that the relative whose fortune he's received had obtained it by criminal means. Thus the fortune did not in fact belong to that relative and therefore could not properly be passed on by him to anyone else.

As a result, the bank concludes, our individual is obliged to return the fortune. Accordingly, all of his accounts with the bank in question have been frozen and court orders have been obtained prohibiting him from spending any more of what he has thought of as his inheritance and demanding the return of whatever is left.

Our individual now finds himself buried in a mountain of debt that he cannot repay. He must sell his home or mansion, most likely for less than he had paid for it. (If for no other reason, this will likely be the case simply because of the payment of brokerage fees and the inability to wait very long for the right buyer.) Selling the clothes and many of the other goods he had bought will likely yield only pennies on the dollar. All that he had spent in traveling the world will be a total loss, as will be his expenditures on many other forms of luxury consumption. As for his investments, they may be profitable or unprofitable. However, given our individual's lack of great financial success prior to his receipt of his inheritance, it is more likely than not that they will have been unprofitable.

The upshot of all this is that our individual's receipt of his "inheritance" has turned out to be a financial catastrophe for him. By leading him to make massive purchases in the mistaken conviction that he owned a fortune, when in fact he did not, it has led him to live far beyond his means and to squander much or all of the wealth he had prior to his coming into his "inheritance."

Boom-Bust in the Wider Economy

The pattern of boom-bust in the wider economy is essentially similar to what has been portrayed in the case of this individual. In both cases, the boom is characterized by the appearance of great new and additional wealth that does not in fact exist. The bust is the aftermath of the economic behavior inspired by this illusory wealth.

In the boom-bust cycle of the wider economy, the illusory wealth does not take the form of false inheritances but of newly created paper bank credit that is confused with capital representing real, physical wealth. At the instigation and with the support of the Federal Reserve, in the most recent boom banks created several trillion dollars of new and additional money, which they lent out. On the foundation of this fictitious capital, the economic system was led to proceed as though corresponding new and additional physical wealth had come into being. The result, among other things, was the construction of perhaps as many as three million new houses for which people could not pay.

In reality, the capital actually available in the boom is insufficient to support the projects that are undertaken on the foundation of the credit expansion. Instead of creating new and additional capital, credit expansion serves to drive up wage rates and the prices of capital goods. This reduces the buying power of capital funds. Ultimately, it creates a situation in which those who normally would have been in a position to lend money find that they cannot lend, or cannot lend as much, because they need the funds to finance their own internal operations that now must be carried on at higher wage rates and prices of capital goods. At the same time, for the same reason, borrowers find that the funds they have borrowed are insufficient. Thus borrowers need more money while lenders can only lend less. The upshot is a "credit crunch," in which firms go bankrupt for lack of funds.

In the boom phase, massive debts have been accumulated. As these debts become unpayable, the capital of the firms that have lent the funds is correspondingly reduced. In the process, the capital of the banks that have created the new and additional credit can be wiped out, creating the potential for bank runs and an actual decline in the quantity of money in the economic system. The mere specter of such events creates a major increase in the demand for money for cash holding, with the result that spending in the economic system starts to decrease even without an actual fall in the quantity of money.

The conclusion to be drawn is that the key to avoiding "busts" is to avoid the credit expansion and "booms" that cause them. Booms are not periods of prosperity but of the squandering of wealth. The longer they last, the worse is the devastation that follows.

George Reisman, Ph.D., is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics and the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996). His web site is www.capitalism.net. His blog is at www.georgereisman.com/blog/. Send him mail. (A PDF replica of the complete book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics can be downloaded to the reader's hard drive simply by clicking on the book’s title, immediately preceding, and then saving the file when it appears on the screen. ) See George Reisman's article archives.

© 2010 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules