Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The effects of late receivers of new currency

For my first book review I will do on this site, I plan on doing the review on "What Has Government Done To Our Money?" by Murray N. Rothbard.  However, a particularly crucial paragraph (see below) covers the topic I want to discuss today and that is inflation and it's effect on people.

"Inflation, then, confers no general social benefit; instead, it redistributes the wealth in favor of the first-comers and at the expense of the laggards in the race. And inflation is, in effect, a race—to see who can get the new money earliest. The latecomers—the ones stuck with the loss—are often called the 'fixed income groups.' Ministers, teachers, people on salaries, lag notoriously behind other groups in acquiring the new money. Particular sufferers will be those depending on fixed money contracts— contracts made in the days before the inflationary rise in prices. Life insurance beneficiaries and annuitants, retired persons living off pensions, landlords with long term leases, bondholders and other creditors, those holding cash, all will bear the brunt of the inflation. They will be the ones who are 'taxed.'"

This is the great deception that government chooses to not shed light on to the citizens of it's nation.  In our typical economy the first receivers of money are the creators of that currency itself which is the government (and in the illegal sense, the counterfeiters; really though government issuance of new currency is just legalized counterfeiting often times not even backed by real notes of value, just as Banks create money from nothing through loans in our current system).  As before mentioned the basic effects of inflation are obvious, you pay more for milk and eggs in the store....  what this excerpt mentions is the lag time of inflation, meaning this new currency gets spent at the value as if it had not been inflated at all, it is later when the economy has responded to this inflation of the currency where the new currency is traded for what it is really worth.  And as Mr. Rothbard points out, this will typically be those on fixed incomes and the least capable to handle the effects of inflation.  The big reason for this is the contracts which are signed in agreement before the inflation has taken place, for instance social security; *tongue in cheek* the great social program of our lifetime; the rates you pay into and receive were based on the value of the currency at the time you entered the program, the only concession is that pay-out is based on your income closer to when you are eligible for receipt of the benefit so if your pay beat the rate of inflation then you are doing better than most.  The other people mentioned can be in an even worse scenario, ministers at most churches earn a fairly low income sadly, typically based on the tithing of their congregations and other services they can provide.  So when they are tithed with a bank note that is viewed as being valued as being able to purchase a dozen eggs, they must hold the money to cover the church expenses and at the end of their budget cycle (say monthly) they get a share to live on which now that dollar is valued at only being able to buy 10 eggs.

The article implies that the receipts of debt payments suffer this as well but note it does not mention banks, the reason is that banks as previously discussed are in fact loaning non-existent currency in the first place, any return is a benefit to them.  But on the flip-side he does mention credit repayment such as bonds, lease holders and the recipient of annuities, because these items of value backed and was loaned based on the value of the currency at time of lending.  In most cases these are fixed for their life so if the set rate of growth (if any) does not match the rate of inflation then every year after the credit was generated the lender/landlord is loosing a little more of the buying power of their initial investment.  How could the Bond market exist in this environment is simply a matter that they do their best to set an interest rate that will meet or exceed the rate of inflation but it is a for sure gamble and risk that this security faces.  Long term leases often times will suffer the worst with this because in many situations they are not negotiated to raise rental rates based on inflation.  Other companies have unique situations as well, my wife's company works with auto-parts distribution, sales and purchasing.  By the mere inflation of the Dollar versus the Yen her company has become unprofitable, since the dollar is dropping in value (inflation at work), they are committed to contracts for the purchase and sale of parts internationally that although the parts are numerically trading at the same rate the bottom line of the company has fallen significantly since more Dollars are needed in purchases from those parts being made in foreign markets.  Proponents of Job growth in the U.S. might see that as a good thing since her company now has a major effort to find local parts suppliers, but what they are finding is that the local suppliers are going out of business or not wanting to take on the risk of modernizing their factories to supply the parts at the right price and quality as needed in the automotive industry.  They are stuck between a rock and a hard place that if not solved will mean job losses locally and an increase in automotive costs as fewer supplier options are available to automotive manufacturers.

What things can be done to deal with the issues relating to the late receivers of new currency?

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