quarta-feira, 11 de agosto de 2004

Quantidade fixa de dinheiro, lucros, deflação

Uma quantidade fixa de dinheiro não afectaria uma economia livre, a verdadeira deflação é contração monetária não descida de preços. Ninguém no seu perfeito juízo pode dizer que a descida de preços é má para a "economia".

Outra coisa é uma descida de preços provocada por uma súbita contração monetária provocada por falências e defaults. Mas esta situação catastrófica só é possível num sistema fraccionário de moeda. Num sistema livre de padrão ouro, a quantidade de moeda não é passível de ser reduzida. Só no presente sistema monetário coercivo que começou a ser posto em prática antes da Grande Depressão (e uma das suas causas principais, ainda por cima agravada por todo o intervencionismo posterior - o New Deal foi também uma das causa, não foi qualquer solução, este é mais um tema a precisar de um saudável revisionismo) é estamos a cada momento em possibilidade de tal.

Mas a descida de preços induzida pelo progresso tecnológico e aumento da produção é sempre boa, e tal é compatível com uma quantidade fixa de dinheiro e ainda mais com o aumento médio de 2 a 3% na quantidade disponível de ouro.

Mais comentários para mais tarde, fica a mais importante referência no assunto e merecedor de um Prémio Nobel pelo seu Tratado "CAPITALISM: A Treatise on Economics":

The Anatomy of Deflation, By George Reisman

"Let me put it this way. Deflation is not falling prices. It is monetary contraction. Falling prices are necessary as a response to deflation, which is prior, and which exists whether prices do or do not fall, and can exist even if prices rise. Falling prices in response to deflation are economically beneficial, in that they enable a reduced quantity of money and volume of spending to buy as much as the previously larger quantity of money and volume of spending bought.

In other words, the effect of falling prices is always positive. They should not be confused with deflation or depression and are certainly not their cause. On the contrary, as we have seen, they are a remedy for the effects of deflation. And this is true even for debtors. It is not the level of prices that makes it difficult to repay a debt, but the amount of money one can earn in relation to the size of the debts one must pay.

If the average member of the economic system can no longer earn as much money as he used to, and thus finds it more difficult to repay any given amount of money debt, then the fact that prices fall does not make him earn still less. Rather it enables his reduced spending power to buy more. His problem is in the relationship between the amount of money he can earn and the amount of money he must repay. His problem is not caused by a greater buying power of that money.

(...) Nor should the prospect of a fall in prices in and of itself be taken as the cause of an increase in the desire to save, still less of an increase in the demand for money for holding and thus of a monetary contraction. To the extent that falling prices are the accompaniment of greater prosperity, the prospect of falling prices is accompanied by the prospect of greater prosperity.

The prospect of greater prosperity in the future provides an inducement to greater consumption in the present.

It should be understood as operating in the same way on present consumption as the prospect of coming into an inheritance. It means that one's future is better provided for and thus that one can afford to increase one's consumption and enjoyment in the present. This offsets the fact that every dollar withheld from present consumption will have greater buying power in the future. In other words, the effect of falling prices caused by increased production on the degree of saving and provision for the future should be assumed to be neutral, because the prospect of greater future buying power of the monetary unit is offset by the prospect of greater future prosperity. In such circumstances, the prospect of falling prices does not provide a basis for a rise in the demand for money for holding.

The case is different when the need for the fall in prices is caused by monetary contraction. In this case, the failure of prices to fall, in the face of the anticipation that they will fall, to the extent necessary to clear the market of unsold supplies of goods and labor, leads to a speculative postponement of purchases, which increases the pressure on prices to fall.[2]

Once prices do fall to the necessary extent, that is the end of the contraction. Indeed, given the existence of a speculative withholding of purchases in anticipation of prices and wages falling to some necessary level, once that level is achieved, the speculative withholding of purchases comes to an end and there is an increase in the volume of spending. In other words, the response to the necessary fall in prices and wages is economic recovery.

Provided the quantity of money in the economic system does not decrease, a rise in the demand for money for holding can have the very beneficial effect of increasing the degree of financial liquidity in the economic system, a valuable point which Rothbard made.[3] It serves to improve such vital measures of financial health as the cash balances businesses hold relative to their current liabilities. It accomplishes this to the extent that it serves to bring down wage rates and prices and thus the dollar amount of current liabilities, which fall as the result of smaller outlays being made and thus smaller bills having to be paid.

The higher is the degree of such financial liquidity, the less is the danger of insolvencies and bankruptcies and thus the greater is the security against any need for further increases in such cash holdings. The implication of this is that increases in the demand for money for holding are self-limiting, and that the demand for money for holding tends to stabilize at the higher level. There is no process of its feeding on itself and endlessly increasing.[4]

Indeed, what creates the need for a sudden, substantial increase in the demand for money for holding is the preceding artificial decrease in the demand for money for holding brought about by credit expansion. Credit expansion leads businessmen to believe that they can substitute for the holding of actual cash the prospect of easily and profitably borrowing the funds they might require. It also encourages a reduction in the demand for money for holding by means of the seeming ease with which inventories can be profitably sold in the face of the rising sales revenues it fuels, which makes it appear better to hold more inventory and less cash.

The rise in interest rates that credit expansion serves to bring about in the course of its further progress, as rising sales revenues raise nominal profits and thus the demand for loanable funds, also serves to reduce the demand for money for holding. This is because the higher interest rates serve to make it worthwhile to lend out sums available for short periods of time that it would not have been worthwhile to lend out at lower interest rates. To these factors must be added the influence of any prospect of rising prices that credit expansion may create. And finally, the loss of capital that credit expansion engenders, as the result of the extensive malinvestment that it causes, serves to make credit less available and thus to create a still further demand for money for holding.[5]

Avoid inflation and credit expansion, let the demand for money for holding be high, let prices and wages be adjusted to that fact, and the economic system will be secure from sudden increases in the demand for money for holding thereafter.

Similarly, the best reason in favor of an actual decrease in the quantity of money is that suffering it may serve to avoid a greater, more severe decrease later on. This would be the case under a fractional-reserve gold standard that had not departed too radically from a one-hundred-percent-gold reserve. In such circumstances, a reduction in the quantity of money in the form of fiduciary media[6] could bring the quantity of money down to the supply of actual monetary gold and thus both retain the gold standard and avoid the need for a more severe and potentially catastrophic reduction in the quantity of money later on—the kind of reduction that occurred from 1929 to 1933, after decades of expanding the supply of fiduciary media relative to the supply of gold.

Deflation, which, it cannot be repeated too often, means monetary contraction, not falling prices, is at best in the category of a pain to be endured only in order to avoid greater pain later on. It should never be, and virtually never is, regarded as any kind of positive in its own right. Indeed, opposition to credit expansion, and to the fractional-reserve banking system that makes credit expansion possible, rests for the most part precisely on the fact they are responsible for deflation, which would not exist in their absence.

The most important point I have made, namely, that falling prices caused by increased production are not deflation and should never be confused with deflation, is illustrated by the following table, which can be taken as a summary of this article.(...)"

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário