Je inflace tím správným bojištěm?

BERKELEY – Americký Federální rezervní systém a další centrální banky se v současnosti dostávají do kleští: zleva je na ně vyvíjen tlak, aby se přičinily o rozšíření poptávky a udržení nízké globální nezaměstnanosti; zprava jsou pod tlakem, aby poptávku oslabovaly, neboť je třeba držet na uzdě inflaci.

To je situace zralá na průšvih, protože jedna z těchto diagnóz se nutně mýlí. Pokud světové centrální banky zvýší úrokové sazby, zatímco hlavním problémem bude nedostatečná globální poptávka, mohly by způsobit depresi. Pokud úrokové sazby nezvýší, zatímco hlavním problémem bude inflace, mohly by zapříčinit prudké nárůsty cen, růst inflačních očekávání a úpornou spirálu mzdy-ceny, jakou jsme zažili v 70. letech minulého století a z níž lze vybřednout jedině pozdější, ještě hlubší depresí.

Mám za to, že v globální ekonomice postindustriálního severoatlantického jádra má – tentokrát – pravdu levice. Jediným náznakem toho, že rostoucí inflace je problém či vůbec realita, jsou výše celkové inflace. Americký index mzdových nákladů ani další ukazatele růstu nominálních mezd ve vyspělých zemích nevykazují žádné zrychlení změn. Známky zrychlování inflace nepozorujeme ani u hladin „jádrové inflace“.

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