مفارقة الأسعار

لندن ــ في عام 1923، تصدى جون ماينارد كينز لمسألة اقتصادية أساسية لا تزال سارية حتى يومنا هذا. فكتب: "إن التضخم غير عادل، والانكماش غير مستحسن، ولعل الانكماش هو الأسوأ بين الاثنين؛ لأنه من الأسوأ أن تستفز البطالة بدلاً من إحباط أصحاب الأملاك والدخول. ولكن لا يتوجب علينا بالضرورة أن نختار بين شرين".

ويبدو منطق الحجة دامغا. فلأن أغلب العقود "معقدة" (ولا يمكن تنقيحها أو تعديها بسهولة) من الناحية النقدية، فإن التضخم أو الانكماش لابد أن يلحق الضرر بالاقتصاد. فارتفاع الأسعار يقلل من قيمة المدخرات ومعاشات التقاعد، في حين يؤدي انخفاض الأسعار إلى خفض توقعات الربح، وبالتالي تشجيع الاكتناز وزيادة العبء الحقيقي للدين.

وقد أصبحت مقولة كينز المأثورة بمثابة الحكمة المهيمنة على السياسة النقدية (وواحدة من القِلة القليلة الباقية). ويتعين على الحكومات، وفقاً للحكمة التقليدية، أن تستهدف تثبيت الأسعار، مع انحراف بسيط نحو التضخم من أجل تحفيز "الغرائز الحيوانية" لدى رجال الأعمال والمتسوقين.

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