Why Money Doesn't Matter
by Alex Merced
If you spend enough time reading and listening to the media at Mises.org put out by the Mises Institute it becomes quite apparent that the supply of money doesn't change anything fundamentally in the economy. The market always adjust prices in the economy to the supply and demand of goods, so money being a good like anything else will adjust it's prices when the supply of it changes but nothing has fundamentally changed. The way we subjectively value all our goods and services haven't changed, all that has changed is how we value it relative to the changing money supply.
Although prices don't change immediately with any change in supply in demand, a period of price discovery must occur. During this period through trial and error of human action people will overvalue and undervalue goods and services in the search for the “market price” of money and the goods and services relative to it. When this market price is found the overall subjective value of things will not have fundamentally changed, although this allows an opportunity for arbitrage. Arbitrage is the act of taking advantage of over or under evaluations in market prices. Those who best take advantage of this are those who get the new supply of money first or understand this process, cause they have the best knowledge of the undervaluation currently in the economy before prices adjust. This arbitrage of those in the know is the effect that economist feel can benefit or hinder the economy, and they advocate a ever changing money supply to keep this state of arbitrage constant to never let the true “market price” of money and goods be found.
How would prices eventually adjust?
If the money supply increases: If the money supply (inflation) then initially all goods and services are undervalued relative to money, so then a consumption binge occurs which pushes prices up to the market price. Some people may still advocate this course of action cause it'll devalue one money versus another money increasing the purchasing power of the second money to buy goods denominated in the first money, which is temporarily the case during the adjustment. Another consideration though for those using the second money is that while the purchasing power for consumers has increased so has the purchasing power of producers in that money which means that domestic goods in that currency will be cheaper to produce offsetting the increase in the value of the currency overtime. To truly have a sustainable increase in transactions between currencies one must have a true competitive advantage in the goods and services they offer.
If the money supply decreases: If the money supply decreases (deflation) then initially all goods and services are overvalued relative to money, so then some people will prefer to sell assets to take advantage of the overvaluation which will push prices down to the market price. Once again is argued to have a negative consequence between different currencies cause as the first currency increases in value other currencies will depreciate relatively. Only looking at consumer purchasing power it seems that it'd be expensive for foreign consumers to buy domestic goods, although we often forget the purchasing power of domestic produces increases which will lower the price of their goods offsetting the increase in value. So after the adjustment once again a country with a true competitive adjustment will always succeed.
If the money supply is constant: If the money supply is constant then there is no adjustment, instead things are always priced relatively to supply and demand versus a known money supply. If prices want to go higher then the money supply can handle, then prices of the supply chain will be pushed down to operate in the current supply of money, always relative to the changing subjective values of people.