13. “The Causes of Price Inflation & Deflation: Fundamental Economic Principles the Deflationists Have Ignored”


Abstract: In the inflation-deflation debate, deflationists view credit as the most important factor affecting prices. As far as they are concerned, the credit contraction of 2008 caused prices-in-general to fall, and prices will continue to fall unless bank lending resumes. But are these opinions based on a sound understanding of economics? The first part of this article examines the causes of price inflation and deflation from a theoretical perspective. The analysis is firmly in the Austrian tradition. The theory is then applied to recent historical data to show that the general price deflation that began in the wake of the financial crisis was not the direct result of a contraction of credit. The article concludes with a discussion of the prospects for price inflation and deflation in the future.