What Is Inflation and Deflation and a Speculation Concerning the Bitcoin Future
Recently I started investing in bitcoins and I’ve heard a great deal of discusses inflation and deflation but not lots of people actually know and think about what inflation and deflation are. But let’s start with inflation.
We always needed a way to trade value and probably the most practical way to take action is to link it with money. During the past it worked quite well because the money that was issued was associated with gold. So every central bank needed enough gold to cover back all of the money it issued. However, during the past century this changed and gold is not what is giving value to money but promises. As you can guess it’s very easy to abuse to such power and certainly the major central banks aren’t renouncing to do so. Because of this they’re printing money, so put simply they’re “creating wealth” out of thin air without really having it. This technique not merely exposes us to risks of economic collapse nonetheless it results also with the de-valuation of money. Therefore, because money will probably be worth less, whoever is selling something has to raise the price of goods to reflect their real value, that is called inflation. But what’s behind the amount of money printing? Why are central banks doing so? Well the answer they might offer you is that by de-valuing their currency they are helping the exports.
In fairness, inside our global economy that is true. However, that’s not the only reason. By issuing fresh money we are able to afford to cover back the debts we had, basically we make new debts to cover the old ones. But that’s not only it, by de-valuing our currencies we are de-facto de-valuing our debts. That’s why our countries love inflation. In inflationary environments it’s better to grow because debts are cheap. But which are the consequences of all this? It’s hard to store wealth. So if you keep the money (you worked hard to obtain) in your money you’re actually losing wealth because your cash is de-valuing pretty quickly.
Because each central bank has an inflation target at around 2% we can well say that keeping money costs most of us at least 2% per year. This discourages savers and spur consumes. worldoftechnicalanalysis.com is how our economies are working, based on inflation and debts.
What about deflation? Well this is often the opposite of inflation and it is the biggest nightmare for our central banks, let’s see why. Basically, we’ve deflation when overall the costs of goods fall. This would be caused by a rise of value of money. To begin with, it could hurt spending as consumers will be incentivised to save money because their value increase overtime. Alternatively merchants will undoubtedly be under constant pressure. They will need to sell their goods quick otherwise they’ll lose money because the price they will charge for his or her services will drop over time. But when there is something we learned in these years is that central banks and governments do not care much about consumers or merchants, what they care the most is DEBT!!. In a deflationary environment debt can be a real burden since it will only get bigger as time passes. Because our economies are based on debt you can imagine exactly what will function as consequences of deflation.
So to summarize, inflation is growth friendly but is founded on debt. Therefore the future generations can pay our debts. Deflation alternatively makes growth harder but it implies that future generations won’t have much debt to pay (in such context it will be possible to afford slow growth).
OK so how all of this fits with bitcoins?
Well, bitcoins are designed to be an alternative for the money also to be both a store of value and a mean for trading goods. They’re limited in number and we’ll never have more than 21 million bitcoins around. Therefore they’re designed to be deflationary. Now we have all seen what the results of deflation are. However, in a bitcoin-based future it would still be possible for businesses to thrive. The ideal solution will be to switch from the debt-based economy to a share-based economy. Actually, because contracting debts in bitcoins would be very expensive business can still have the capital they want by issuing shares of these company. This could be an interesting alternative as it will offer you many investment opportunities and the wealth generated will be distributed more evenly among people. However, just for clarity, I must say that portion of the costs of borrowing capital will undoubtedly be reduced under bitcoins as the fees will be extremely low and there will not be intermediaries between transactions (banks rip people off, both borrowers and lenders). This might buffer a number of the negative sides of deflation. Nevertheless, bitcoins will face many problems unfortunately, as governments still need fiat money to pay back the huge debts that people inherited from the past generations.