And now for the meaty post of the week! Seriously, this is a fantastic piece by The Grump Economist, John H. Cochrane, senior fellow at The Hoover Institute.
Here’s a sneak preview:
What’s causing the big drop in the stock market, and the bout of enormous volatility we’re seeing at the end of the year?
The biggest worry is that this is The Beginning of The End — a recession is on its way, with a consequent big stock market rout. Is this early 2008 all over again, a signal of the big drop to come?
Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe it’s 2010, 2011, 2016, or the greatest of all, 1987. “The stock market forecast 9 of the last 5 recessions,” Paul Samuelson once said, and rightly. The stock market does fall in recessions, but it also corrects occasionally during expansions. Each of these drops was accompanied by similar bouts of volatility. Each is likely a period in which people worried about a recession or crash to come, but in the end it did not come.
Still, is this at last the time? A few guideposts are handy.
Observe that while fulfilling the role of the medium of savings, money is not savings. An increase in money will not result in more savings. An increase in savings requires the increase in the production of consumer goods all other things being equal. Through money, people channel real savings, which provide support to economic activity.
Once real savings are exchanged for money it is of no consequence what the holder of money does with the money. Whether he uses it immediately in exchange for other goods or puts it under the mattress, it will not alter the fact that his real savings are already employed towards the expansion of real wealth.
In a free unhampered market economy there will be a harmonious and sustained change in the pattern of consumption with a rise in consumers’ real wealth. With an increase in real wealth, individuals are likely to strive to acquire various less essential goods and more goods that are luxurious. This harmony however, tends to be disrupted whenever the central bank pumps money.
Source: How Private Banks Create Bubbles — with the Help of Central Banks | Mises Wire