De voorbarige dood van de inflatie

CAMBRIDGE – Is het tijdperk van hoge inflatie voor eeuwig voorbij? In een wereld van langzame groei, hoge schulden en een enorme distributiedruk is de vraag of inflatie dood is of slechts sluimert een belangrijke. Zeker, enorme institutionele verbeteringen bij de centrale banken hebben indrukwekkende barrières tegen een hoge inflatie gecreëerd. Maar een aanzienlijk deel van de geloofwaardigheid van een centrale bank wordt uiteindelijk afgeleid uit het bredere macro-economische milieu waarin deze opereert.

In de eerste helft van de jaren negentig bedroeg de gemiddelde jaarlijkse inflatie in Afrika 40%, in Latijns Amerika 230% en in de overgangseconomieën van Oost-Europa 360%. En in de vroege jaren tachtig was de gemiddelde inflatie in geavanceerde economieën bijna 10%. Vandaag de dag lijkt een hoge inflatie zo ver weg dat veel analisten het behandelen als niet meer dan een theoretische curiositeit.

Ze hebben het bij verkeerde eind. Hoezeer centrale banken ook zouden willen het inflatieniveau te presenteren als slechts een technocratische beslissing blijft het uiteindelijk een sociale keuze. En een aantal van die dwangmiddelen die geholpen hebben de inflatie de laatste twee decennia in te dammen zijn op hun terugtocht.

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