M2 Money Supply – Am I wrong to be freaked out about this chart? : Economics

by nyljaouadi1
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Yes. For several reasons

To begin with; no one has a robust theory of inflation anymore. The monetarist model doesn’t work and the Phillips Curve is in the trash can. Fed officials acknowledge this; Governor Tarullo openly said we’re essentially flying blind.

But shelving that…

M2 is an incredibly narrow metric of the money supply. Modern money supply is not determined by Fed deposit accounts and the retail holdings of mom and pop. Modern money supply is determined by the length of collateral chains and the risk of the underlying (thus the VaR numbers produced by banks risk desks). In a fiat world, money is credit all the way down, and the thing which produces credit in modern economy is collateral.

QE, in part, is an attempt to counteract deflationary pressure by stirring up countervailing inflationary pressure. This is practically achieved by suppressing the risk of underlying collateral. It is limited by the act of sucking collateral out of circulation in the money market. QE also has inflationary pressure by stimulating underlying demand

By the by: even in the monetarist models which seem to be very popular as common sense on Reddit, it is a commonly accepted result that the money supply’s correlation to inflation collapses when you’re already in a low-inflationary environment. Which was very much the case

There is a broader disinflationary bias in the economy, which you can see with the downward slide to the deflationary zero lower bound elicited from the 1980s onward. This is probably explained by globalization, but that’s just my favored hypothesis

And, obviously, our current crisis is radically deflationary.

I’m sure this will get a bunch of people to yell about how this is wrong and inflation is definitely on it’s way (or even more detached from reality; already occurring) but those people are wrong. Most people think the economy is broken, and the 1970s taught people that broken economy = there must be inflation somewhere.

But we’re not in the 1970s anymore. People on big Econ subreddits like these won’t tell you this, because the truth is so uncomfortable: we really just don’t know what exactly is going on. The period we’re currently in is forging an entire new model of monetary economics and price level theories. If you are willing to accept that, while this period is in a day-to-day sense very frightening, then intellectually it is also exhilarating. Much like physics, in economics it is only when our models break down completely that things become really interesting



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