Monthly Archives: November 2012

Inflation? Deflation? or Biflation?

Regarding the (interminable!) inflation versus deflation debate — sometimes called The Great ‘Flations Debate: Easily the most likely outcome in the U.S. is BIFLATION, a mixture of inflation and deflation*; inflation in some sectors, and simultaneous deflation in others. Per Wikipedia (below), biflation is “a rise in the price of commodity/earnings-based assets (inflation) and a simultaneous fall in the price of debt-based assets (deflation).”

Herewith, a few clippings on the subject:


From the old LATOC forum (

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Re: Gold price will surge to $5,000 in two years
« Reply #32 on: Feb 14, 2010 at 11:16:31 AM »

Quote from: Madnsassy on February 13, 2010, 12:29:13 PM
> Necessities for most people such as food, fuel, health
> insurance, etc., have been inflationary whereas housing and
> some luxury items have been deflationary.

What is coming, as some wag said, is deflation in all the
things you WANT, and inflation in all those that you NEED.

 -- tony urban real estate, condos, etc.; possibly ALL
    real estate
 -- fancy cars
 -- fancy consumer hard goods, e.g. big-screen tvs
 -- stocks and bonds, mutual fund shares
 -- vacations, hotels, cruises
 -- most or all services (massage, bookkeeping, you
    name it)
 -- medical services except for clear essentials

 -- food
 -- fuel
 -- clothing
 -- sundries, consumables
 -- essential medicines, all medicines
 -- tools of all kinds,
 -- manufactured items of all kinds, if they have
    practical utility
 -- money with intrinsic value (coins of gold, silver,
    platinum, nickel, copper) [this would include
    currently-issued U.S. nickels, of 75% copper and
    25% nickel, and pre-1981 pennies, of 100% copper]

Special category:
 -- money with little or no intrinsic value, like FRNs, 
    and clad pennies, dimes & quarters (largely zinc;
    might hold their own, might not; see Antal Fekete's


Biflation is a state of the economy where the processes of inflation and deflation occur simultaneously.[1] The term was first introduced by Dr. F. Osborne Brown, a Senior Financial Analyst for the Phoenix Investment Group.[2] During Biflation, there’s a rise in the price of commodity/earnings-based assets (inflation) and a simultaneous fall in the price of debt-based assets (deflation).

The price of all assets are based on the demand for them versus the volume of money in circulation to buy them.

With Biflation on the one hand, the economy is fueled by an over-abundance of money injected into the economy by central banks. Since most essential commodity-based assets (food, energy, clothing, precious metals) remain in high demand, the price for them rises due to the increased volume of money chasing them. The increasing costs to purchase these essential assets is the price-inflationary arm of Biflation.[3]

With Biflation on the other hand, the economy is tempered by increasing unemployment and decreasing purchasing power. As a result, a greater amount of money is directed toward buying essential items and directed away from buying non-essential items. Debt-based assets (mega-houses, high-end automobiles, stocks and bonds) become less essential and increasingly fall into lower demand. As a result, the prices for them fall due to the decreased volume of money chasing them. The decreasing costs to purchase these non-essential assets is the price-deflationary arm of Biflation.

Jim Willie July 1, 2009

Many are the obstructions to the so-called (mislabeled) deflation threat within the USEconomy. To begin with, falling asset prices does not constitute deflation. One of the primary objectives of the banking elite in firm control of the USGovt and USCongress is to confuse the public and investment community on the entire topic of inflation, what it is, how it is measured, and its risks. The same goes for deflation. All debate as to whether the Untied States will suffer from inflation or deflation is a horrible misdirected distraction that manifests the confusion. The US will suffer both higher monetary inflation and worse economic deterioration, not one or the other, but BOTH, and with steadily increasing intensity. Imagine a massive tornado building force, inflicting damage, and being fed to grow even more powerful by current policy. To argue on whether the high pressure or low pressure will prevail misses the entire storm, built upon the grand and growing differential in pressure. The storm is born of opposing pressures, each growing more intense. Human response to economic distress and banking woes ensure evermore pressures to be exerted on each side. The grand growing monetary expansion continues to collide with grand worsening asset price decline, while the Deflation Knuckleheads spout more nonsense. They miss the storm itself, how it is formed, and the dual nature of its tempest.

A very important point must be made, something few if any analysts or pundits or anchors are mentioning. In fact, the staggering direction of monetary aid for rescues of dead banks, for nationalization of dead corporations, and for stimulus to an insolvent nation guarantee more damage. The huge monetary growth guarantees that the asset prices will continue to fall, and that the great tempest will grow in magnitude and danger. Why? Because bad money drives out good money, because phony money undermines legitimate assets, because easy money encourages more bubbles. It acts like a cancer, one that has essentially destroyed the fundamental foundation of the nation. This extremely important point will lead to the ultimate downfall of the Untied States, as their inflation will destroy too much capital in determined yet mindless application.


the Optimist thinks delation and inflation may coexist for a brief time:

Some readers may think that the Optimist wears blinders which limit his vision to seeing only increasing inflation ahead. They may be surprised to learn that he actually guesses that deflation and inflation will coexist and partially offset each other over the next few years. The surprise candidates for deflation are the luxuries which have been acquired in great abundance by the accumulation of high levels of consumer debt. The biggest single category of over priced luxury items is residential real estate. Although having a roof over one’s head is a necessity, it is not essential for every person in the nation to immerse himself in debt to purchase the house attached to that roof. Many people in previous generations found that they could live within their means by renting, and that they could build up savings instead of compounding debts in the process. The Optimist guesses that many of the current buyers of overpriced real estate will rediscover the joys of renting as unemployment cascades higher, and that house prices in the most over priced areas will suffer as a result. Similarly, the Optimist guesses that big ticket items of conspicuous consumption will also have less buying pressure during the coming rise in unemployment. Examples of items which would feel deflationary forces could include 48 inch plasma TVs and extra large SUVs (which are also extra heavy and get comparably terrible fuel mileage). In an atmosphere saturated with excessive consumer debt and depressed by increasing unemployment, purchases of expensive luxuries will be reduced and the resulting decline in prices of luxury items will look like a taste of deflation for a few years ahead.

The Optimist is confident, however, that the prices of necessities will move incessantly higher. First on the list of necessary purchases is fuel. Escalating world wide demand for crude oil and liquid natural gas will continue to push those prices higher without respite. Since all of the other necessities of modern urban life require energy to produce and transport, the prices of those necessities can only increase even as consumers with excessive debt try to cut down on purchasing luxuries. Two other areas of persistently rising prices of necessities will also become evident in the months ahead. First, even as excessively high house prices revert to the mean, the costs of rent will push ever higher. Secondly, consumers will increase the time between trading up to a new car, and the prices of used cars will begin to firm. The Optimist expects rising profit margins for used car parts and repair businesses. As highly indebted consumers are squeezed into a lower standard of living, there will be a brief transition time in which we could see mild deflation in luxury items (including over priced real estate) and simultaneous rising inflation in the full spectrum of necessities. After that transition, the Optimist expects only inflation to be seen everywhere, and to be rising at an ever more rapid pace. If that view is correct, then the next few short years may be the final opportunity for consumers to escape the jaws of the vise by paying down debt and simplifying their lifestyle so they can save funds which they can use to purchase precious metals while they are still relatively affordable. After that window slams shut, the twin jaws of inflation on one side and high interest rates on the other will mercilessly squeeze anyone with debts in the vise of rising unemployment.


* Note:

I recognize that others may have their own (atypical) definitions of “inflation” and “deflation”, but in this post I am using “inflation” to mean what dictionaries and other common reference works say it means, and what almost everyone understands it to mean: higher prices. (While its mirror-opposite, “deflation”, means lower prices.)

Vis: in·fla·tion [ in fláysh’n ] — higher prices: an increase in the supply of currency or credit relative to the availability of goods and services, resulting in higher prices and a decrease in the purchasing power of money. Synonyms: price rises, increase, price increases, rise. — In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. — Definition of inflation: The overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy.