Is low inflation desirable and sustainable?

Is low rising prices desirable and sustainable?


In concern, fiscal and political circles, rising prices is one of the most normally discussed economic topics, with statements sing the optimal degrees appropriate for national and international economic systems. From the research available, it would look that the bulk of experts, including banking executives, agree that low rising prices provides the preferable economic environment ( Griffiths and Wall, 2004 ) .

The purpose of this paper is to determine the cogency of this place and whether, if it is proven that low rising prices is desired, it can be sustained. In order to make a decision, it is necessary to first supply and apprehension of the term rising prices itself ; methods by which low rising prices marks is achieved and analyze the benefits of keeping the place.


In general, when the word “inflation” is mentioned most people consider that it refers to lifting monetary values. In fact, monetary value rises are the consequence, instead than the cause of rising prices ( Dan Blatt 2004 ) , and by and large, one time they reach a certain degree, are deflationary. Inflation is caused by a figure of other factors, or inflationary forces.

These forces include alterations in pecuniary policy, which occur when a authorities expands the money supply. Such an event might go on when they are seeking to promote more disbursement by consumers. Monetary rising prices is an unreal manner of making an upward traveling economic system by increasing the sum of money available for consumers to pass, for illustration, when a state is endeavoring to retrieve from a recession or, in the instance of 3rd universe states, developing their economic systems ( Professor Otmar Issinbg, 2003 ) . The job with pecuniary rising prices is that it has the consequence of increasing demand, irrespective of the degree of supply. As demand continues to surpass supply, monetary values will lift, this will make an inflationary state of affairs based on monetary value, where such additions are used to seek to curtail the growing in demand to fit the supply degrees ( Griffiths and Wall, 2004 ) . In the yesteryear, these two opposing forces have caused economic rollercoaster periods for the UK economic system, as witnessed during the “strato-inflation with double-digit rising prices rates” of the 1970’s ( Brittan, Samuel, 2002 ) , which so dropped back aggressively in the early 1980’s. This “boom and bust” roar consequence continued until the early 2000’s ( see appendix 1 ) . Erratic swings in the rising prices rate have an inauspicious consequence upon assurance in a state and its currency. In times of high rising prices, that assurance weakens, and the currency value falls, which can take to a state being forced to devaluate its currency. The job with this place is that it adds fuel to the inflationary forces, forcing up cost of goods being imported. ( Griffiths and Wall, 2004 ) .

Achieving optimal Low rates of Inflation

Whilst rising prices itself may non be a bad thing, because it helps the growing of an economic system, this lone works within certain narrow parametric quantities. Faced with the disabling swings of inflationary state of affairss indicated antecedently, and the consequence these had on the states consumers and currency internationally, the bulk of economic experts came to sentiment that the most productive manner forward for national and planetary economic systems, was to take for a place of low rising prices. It can be seen that, since 2000, the UK the rate of rising prices has succeeded in accomplishing a more stable rising prices rate at lower degrees than had been experienced in the three predating decennaries ( see appendix 1 ) .

To accomplish low rising prices, it is necessary to make an economic environment that encourages capital investing, a accomplishable and sustainable growing rate ; a place in which the nation’s currency does non come under menace from the international community, and that does non damage consumer assurance ( Griffiths and Wall. 2004 ) . To make this means that there must be a less divergent place bing between demand and supply. The closer these two economic elements are, the lower will be the economic disposition towards monetary value rising prices, and the more stable that economic system becomes. If a nation’s economic system does non execute every bit unpredictably as the UK’s did in the 1970’s, the planetary fiscal markets will non lose assurance in the currency, and this will help in the lowering of the rising prices rate.

Historically the UK’s economic scheme has been determined and managed by its political leaders. Before this century, the UK government’s economic power had included commanding the involvement rate degrees and pecuniary supply system. Subsequently and as portion of the purpose to accomplish low rising prices, the authorities relinquished these two powers and changed their pecuniary policy. As Gordon Brown ( column, 2002 ) explained,“under the new pecuniary and financial system based on the independency of the Bank of England: we[ the UK authorities ] [ 1 ]imposed an rising prices mark that is symmetrical, designed to battle both deflation and inflation.”This place allowed involvement rates to respond more closely to indexes and changed to reflect these, forestalling inflation’s predetermined corridors from being breached. From the UK’s economic public presentation over the past five old ages, it can be seen that a place of low rising prices rates has been more easy achieved because of this policy of less political engagement and intervention ( Griffiths and Wall, 2004 ) . Most of the western universe has adopted this place of indexation, outside of direct governmental control, lending to the accomplishment of low rising prices ( Brian O’Reilly, 1998 ) .

However, it is besides necessary to understand that there is bound to the degree that rising prices rates should be allowed to fall. In some ways, leting rising prices rates to float excessively low is about every bit bad as leting high rising prices. Zero or highly low degrees of rising prices can damage the economic system. As has been found in Japan ( Samuel Brittan, 2002 ) , low rates of rising prices are frequently accompanies by low or nil degrees of involvement rates. If inauspicious conditions affect an economic system in this place, a job is created in footings of the country’s ability to respond. It would non be possible for the fiscal establishments to take down involvement rates, as this would travel them towards a negative place. The political and economic leaders would be virtually powerless to respond.

Therefore, as Gordon Brown has done ( Samuel Brittan, 2002 ) , it is merely every bit of import for the government’s economic policy to hold a lower minimal bound mark for rising prices as it is for it to hold an upper bound.

Benefits of Low Inflation

We have seen that low rising prices is accomplishable, but for that accomplishment to intend anything, it has to bring forth benefits. In the instance of low rising prices, the first of these benefits would be the obliteration of the hazards of uncertainness by the accomplishment of “economic stability” ( Harley and Davies 2001 ) .

As the Bank of England study ( Mervyn King, 2004 ) explains, in a state of affairs of low rising prices, consumers, providers and the authorities all benefits. For the consumer, the cost of adoption will be lower, and the buying power of their money will non be as drastically reduced as happens in periods of high rising prices. This will increase their assurance and feeling of security.

For the provider, whilst it is non proven that low rising prices leads to higher growing, every bit, as Walter Stanners ( 1993 ) concludes, is does non “disadvantage” growing. As with consumers, low rising prices assists the corporation by cut downing the growing in their costs. In add-on, to the extent that low rising prices benefits the consumer, it can be said that for the commercial administration low rising prices will cut down their fiscal hazard. For an illustration, this state of affairs would be peculiarly true for fiscal and belongings establishments ( Harley and Davies, 2001 ) . In periods of highly high degrees of rising prices, the consumer defaulting degrees on loans and other fiscal agreements had an inauspicious consequence on such industries. Low rising prices reduces the hazards in these countries. Therefore commercial administrations, whether in merchandise of service industries, are likely to accomplish greater degrees of profitableness in times of lower rising prices, than at other phases of the economic rhythm.

The political benefits of low rising prices are an every bit of import factor. Whilst high degrees of rising prices put force per unit area on the national economic system and currency, frequently coercing the authorities to cut down its militias to increase assurance, low rising prices does non hold this consequence. As a consequence, the state as a whole remains competitory in the planetary market place. Similarly, it helps to keep and command the cost and value of imports and exports by non supplying overseas trading to derive a cost advantageous cost benefit, which in itself could fuel rising prices.


Having achieved low rising prices rates and gained the benefits from this place, one so has to look at whether any state, the UK is included, can prolong the needed rising prices degrees.

Sustainability of low rising prices would trust upon a figure of state of affairss. For illustration, were the UK economic system able to run in an independent and stray mode the troubles would likely non do a job. However, with increasing globalization this is non an option. There are international factors that could present a menace to the sustaining of the rising prices degree. For illustration, if the markets assurance in the currency of another state ceases to be, that states currency becomes cheaper against the UK currency. The knock-on consequence of this is that it would act upon the UK’s ability to sell to that state by doing UK goods more expensive ( Anatole Kaletsky, 2006 ) . Finally, this could take to over supply.

To turn to this state of affairs, it is of import at that place be put in topographic point a degree of international cooperation on rising prices degrees, such as has begun to come up with the debut of the individual European currency ( the Euro ) . Similarly, the international market needs to go on to work towards a place of free trade as barriers to merchandise can, as Gordon Brown ( Anon, 2002 ) has already appreciated, set force per unit area on the national rising prices rates. It is for this ground that most states are working towards the remotion or alteration of bing trade understandings.

Inflation rate sustainability can besides be affected by issues that are outside of normal commercial pattern. For illustration, if one looks at the after effects of incidences like 9/11 in America and 7/7 in the UK, for a period of clip these did impact the rising prices degrees of the states involved.


The decision drawn from our research is that low rising prices rates are good, from both the national economic facet and the assurance with which other states view the state that is runing within these rising prices bounds, and from the fact that, as has been seen, it is good to all of the stakeholders within that state. It hence follows that low rising prices is the coveted economic path that single states should seek to accomplish.

As to whether the place of low rising prices can be sustained over a specific figure of old ages, this is a affair of some speculation. There are a figure of imponderables. Activity from external beginnings over which low rising prices states have no control could easy endanger the rising prices rate. This is why the seeking of international cooperation by manner of planetary trade understandings is such a critical ingredient in supplying economic stableness in the international community. Such sustainability must besides be viewed against the possible impact of terrorist act or war.


Griffiths, Alan and Wall Stuart ( 2004 ) . Applied Economicss.Fiscal Times/Prentice Hall.London, UK.

Harley, Ed and Davies, Stephen ( 2001 ) . Low rising prices. Deductions for the FSA.Financial Services Authority.London. UK.

King Mervyn ( 2004 ) . Low Inflation and Business.Bank of England.London, UK.

O’Reilly, Brian ( 1998 ) . The Benefits of Low Inflation.Bank of Canada.Canada.

Stanners, Walter ( 1993 ) . Is Low Inflation an of import status for high growing?Cambridge Journal of Economics.Vol. 17, 1993. pp. 79-107

Column ( 2002 ) . Full text: Brown’s address to the CBI.The Guardian.UK.

Issinbg, Prof. Otmar ( 2003 ) . Considerations on pecuniary policy schemes for accession states.National Bank of Hungary.Hungary.

Brittan, Samuel ( 2002 ) . Inflation can be excessively low.Financial Times,United kingdom

Kaletsky, Anatole. ( 2006 ) The deflation menace confronting Europe. The Times 20 November 2006. UK

Blatt, Dan ( 2004 ) Understanding rising prices. Recovered 7 December 2006 from hypertext transfer protocol: // % 20Inflation.html

Appendix 1

Figure 1 Inflation graph UK




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