For most commentators inflation is about persistent increases in the prices of goods and services. However, is this the case? For example, the definition of human action is not that people are engaged in all sorts of activities as such, but that they are engaged in purposeful activities–purpose gives rise to an action.
Similarly, the essence of inflation is not a general rise in prices as such but an increase in the supply of money, which in turn sets in motion a general increase in the prices of goods and services in terms of money.
Consider the case of a fixed stock of money. Whenever people increase their demand for some goods and services, money is going to be allocated towards these goods and services. In response, the prices of these goods and services are likely to increase– more money will be spent on them.
Since we have here an unchanged stock of money, less of it can be now allocated towards other goods and services. Given that the price of a good is the amount of money spent on the good this means that the prices of other goods will decline i.e., less money will be spent on them.
In order for there to be a general rise in prices, there must be an increase in the money stock. With more money and no change in the money demand, people can now allocate a greater amount of money for all goods and services.
According to Mises,
Inflation, as this term was always used everywhere and especially in this country, means increasing the quantity of money and bank notes in circulation and the quantity of bank deposits subject to check…
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