Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Gold & Silver Begin New Advancing Cycle Phase - 6th May 21
Vaccine Economic Boom and Bust - 6th May 21
USDX, Gold Miners: The Lion and the Jackals - 6th May 21
What If You Turn Off Your PC During Windows Update? Stuck on Automatic Repair Nightmare! - 6th May 21
4 Insurance Policies You Should Consider Buying - 6th May 21
Fed Taper Smoke and Mirrors - 5th May 21
Global Economic Recovery 2021 and the Dark Legacies of Smoot-Hawley - 5th May 21
Utility Stocks Continue To Rally – Sending A Warning Signal Yet? - 5th May 21
ROIMAX Trading Platform Review - 5th May 21
Gas and Electricity Price Trends so far in 2021 for the United Kingdom - 5th May 21
Crypto Bubble Mania Free Money GPU Mining With NiceHash Continues... - 4th May 21
Stock Market SPX Short-term Correction - 4th May 21
Gold & Silver Wait Their Turn to Ride the Inflationary Wave - 4th May 21
Gold Can’t Wait to Fall – Even Without USDX’s Help - 4th May 21
Stock Market Investor Psychology: Here are 2 Rare Traits Now on Display - 4th May 21
Sheffield Peoples Referendum May 6th Local Elections 2021 - Vote for Committee Decision's or Dictatorship - 4th May 21
AlphaLive Brings Out Latest Trading App for Android - 4th May 21
India Covid-19 Apocalypse Heralds Catastrophe for Pakistan & Bangladesh, Covid in Italy August 2019! - 3rd May 21
Why Ryzen PBO Overclock is Better than ALL Core Under Volting - 5950x, 5900x, 5800x, 5600x Despite Benchmarks - 3rd May 21
MMT: Medieval Monetary Theory - 3rd May 21
Magical Flowering Budgies Bird of Paradise Indoor Grape Vine Flying Fun in VR 3D 180 UK - 3rd May 21
Last Chance to GET FREE Money Crypto Mining with Your Desktop PC - 2nd May 21
Will Powell Lull Gold Bulls to Sweet Sleep? - 2nd May 21
Stock Market Enough Consolidation Already! - 2nd May 21
Inflation or Deflation? (Not a silly question…) - 2nd May 21
What Are The Requirements For Applying For A Payday Loan Online? - 2nd May 21
How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part1 - 1st May 21
INDIA COVID APOCALYPSE - 1st May 21
Are Technicals Pointing to New Gold Price Rally? - 1st May 21
US Dollar Index: Subtle Changes, Remarkable Outcomes - 1st May 21
Stock Market Correction Time Window - 30th Apr 21
Stock Market "Fastest Jump Since 2007": How Leveraged Investors are Courting "Doom" - 30th Apr 21
Three Reasons Why Waiting for "Cheaper Silver" Doesn't Make Cents - 30th Apr 21
Want To Invest In US Real Estate Market But Don’t Have The Down Payment? - 30th Apr 21
King Zuckerberg Tech Companies to Set up their own Governments! - 29th Apr 21
Silver Price Enters Acceleration Phase - 29th Apr 21
Financial Stocks Sector Appears Ready To Run Higher - 29th Apr 21
Stock Market Leverage Reaches New All-Time Highs As The Excess Phase Rally Continues - 29th Apr 21
Get Ready for the Fourth U.S. Central Bank - 29th Apr 21
Gold Mining Stock: Were Upswings Just an Exhausting Sprint? - 29th Apr 21
AI Tech Stocks Lead the Bull Market Charge - 28th Apr 21
AMD Ryzen Overclocking Guide - 5900x, 5950x, 5600x PPT, TDC, EDC, How to Best Settings Beyond PBO - 28th Apr 21
Stocks Bear Market / Crash Indicator - 28th Apr 21
No Upsetting the Apple Cart in Stocks or Gold - 28th Apr 21
Is The Covaids Insanity Actually Getting Worse? - 28th Apr 21
Dogecoin to the Moon! The Signs are Everywhere, but few will Heed them - 28th Apr 21
SPX Indicators Flashing Stock Market Caution - 28th Apr 21
Gold Prices – Don’t Get Too Excited - 28th Apr 21
6 Challenges Contract Managers Face When Handling Contractual Agreements - 28th Apr 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

The False Prosperity of Inflationary Booms

Economics / Inflation May 30, 2008 - 03:48 PM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis Article"...So what's not to love about an inflationary boom...?"

"EVER WONDERED WHY your family budgets never seem to work out as planned?" asked Harry Browne in his 1970 best-seller, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation .


The book sold more than 100,000 copies in hardback. Some three decades later, a dear reader sent me a copy of the 1971 paperback when I ran The Daily Reckoning's desk here in London .

"You guys...you're just saying the same as Harry Browne did 30 years ago! What's new?" he wrote in an email. And on first reading, Harry Browne's book confirmed the jibe.

On re-reading it on the Tube between Waterloo and Hammersmith this week, the cold fact stands out colder still.

"In the short run," wrote Browne – variously an investment advisor, newsletter tipster, and US presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party – "inflation seems to be producing a 'boom'. Prosperity appears to hit the economy when the government pumps new inflationary money into circulation...

"The so-called gains from inflation are always spectacular, while the losses are generally hidden from view...But the truth was that nothing had actually changed. We still had the same amount of resources to work with; we still had the same general level of technical competence. Inflation deceived us into redistributing our resources temporarily towards more glamorous industries."

What's wrong with that? Demand for granite countertops grew some 15% per year – worldwide – between 2000 and 2006, according to Dimension Stone Advocate News. More glamorous still, demand for marble rose by 12% annually.

Come Sept. 2007, research from the Freedonia group (costing $4,500 for the full report) said sales of kitchen and bathroom countertops in the United States alone would rise to 540 million square feet by 2011. That would fetch some $14 billion for "natural and engineered stone" manufacturers in Italy , Spain , China and Brazil .

Okay, so nobody's food got any tastier simply because they chopped onions on new marble plinths. And we all ate fewer meals at home anyway. By August '06, consumers in Britain were spending more on dining out than they spent on eating at home; across the Atlantic, the restaurant and fast-food business employs 13 million staff – one in 12 of the workforce!

But what's not to love about a little glamour each day?

"Let's take a hypothetical engineer," wrote Harry Browne back in 1970, "working in an aerospace company...One day his boss calls him into his office to tell him some good news. 'Bumstead,' he says, 'the company has just received a new government contract. That means we can now give you a raise. Your take-home pay is going up by $100 per month.'

"[Bumstead] rushes home, tells his wife, and they spend all of four minutes deciding what to do with the raise. They rush out and buy a swimming pool, probably by obligating themselves for the $100 per month the new raise is bringing him."

Here in the 21st century – where $100 won't even buy a tank-full of gas in the US , let alone here in the UK – the total number of swimming pools in US homes now stands around 8.6 million on one industry estimate. The pool maintenance and equipment market, having grown by 8% per year since 2002, approached annual sales of $3 billion in 2006.

"There's only one problem," as Browne noted. "Prices are rushing upward to meet the increased paper money supply caused by inflation – the same inflation that deceived Bumstead into thinking he'd received a raise."

That's why, just as in 1970, "April personal spending up as expected," reports Reuters today. The Commerce Department said US consumers spent 0.2% more last month than they did in March. But after adjusting for higher prices, however, real consumer spending was unchanged – despite the impending arrival of Economic Stimulus checks, set to total $106.7 billion for 2008 as a whole.

Real spending grew just 0.1% in March. It fell 0.1% in Feb. But who's counting?

"Of course, what's happening to our hero," Browne went on, "is also happening to millions of others, in various positions along the handout line. Businessmen are gearing up to these new demands – swimming pools, expensive restaurants, better cars, etc.

"But as soon as the inflationary currency has made one complete pass through the market, prices will begin to stabilize at a new, higher level. That's the point where consumers realize that something has gone wrong with their calculations."

Buying a swimming on instalment, in short, starts to look very expensive. Because it costs more – in terms of poor Bumstead's outgoings – than simply the new raise he brings home each month. Now he and the family must adjust their spending on all those other things (such as food, clothes, entertainment, meals out) which they'd previously enjoyed regardless.

"The key number here is real spending, which has now been more or less flat since January," said one talking head in response to this week's personal income and expenditure numbers. "With credit tightening, cash flow being squeezed and confidence near-record lows, this will surely continue."

So, no – in short – there really is nothing new in the world of money and finance. Just a fresh generation making the same tired mistake of confusing more money with wealth.

Here's hoping they get to survive, if not profit from, today's new devaluation.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay | Free Report: 5 Myths of the Gold Market
City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2008

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

Adrian Ash Archive

© 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