t is easy to be misled by short term trending in money supply charts, especially those showing year over year growth as a percentage. Money supply changes are seasonal and often very volatile, but nevermoreso during a credit collapse and quantitative easing.
A look at the longer term trends is most useful. And if necessary a review of Money Supply: A Primer.
The last chart is an index where 100 equals the M2 supply around the end of 2007, and the onset of the credit crisis. Since then it has grown almost twenty percent.
Has GDP or the population grown 20 percent? So money per capita or per unit of productive effort is growing. All one has to do is look at some reality based metric of money supply growth and negative real interest rates to understand the ten year bull market in gold and silver, and commodities in terms of US dollars.
I understand people like to look at the various independent M3 estimates, but since the Fed no longer reports Eurodollars I have not seen what I could consider a credible recent estimate. And I doubt VERY much that M3 is underrunning M2 given the dollars that the Fed has been spreading around the world's banks.
Can the Fed keep this QE up? Will deflation set in, finally? It is a policy decision in a purely fiat currency. That could change, and I will know what to look for when it does. The Fed could be subjected to some external force, either from foreign creditors or domestic politics. I expect that foreign shock to be inflationary rather than deflationary however. As for the domestic forces, a choice for third world status is always an option.
The top five percent of Americans hold by far most of the country's wealth. And deflation may be in their short term interests, as in the case in the UK which seems to be going down that path. These policy decisions bring up a different set of considerations, many of which will stress the social fabric to the breaking point. But a people grown coarse by war and ideology have done much odder things before.
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