Tuesday, June 02, 2009

On Beyond Inflation

For years, the only thing consumers had to worry about was a little bit of inflation. But now all that has changed. As world economies rapidly decline, experts warn of stagflation (high inflation in the midst of sluggish growth and high unemployment) and even deflation (a decrease in prices and overall economic activity). But apparently that’s just the beginning as economists scramble to devise new economic terms to deal with ever-evolving modern financial complexities:

The economic rule in place 20,000 years ago. No one cared or even knew about inflation since the primary concern was basic food and shelter.

Autoflation occurs when the repeated buying, selling and transferring of personal investment holdings results in ever-increasing losses. The term can also be applied to any attempts by car company executives to extract money from government.

Unlike deflation where prices go down, antiflation combines the worst of all economic worlds. Prices go down but costs go up and growth remains stagnant.

The vast majority of economists are either proponents of inflation or deflation. Some, however, choose to swing both ways and are said to be biflationary.

In today’s global economy, transflation (see below) can travel from one country to another at great speeds. Circumflation is the tendency for an inflationary trend to circle the globe.

Conflation comprises the inflationary pressures suffered due to the illegal activity of unindicted bank executives. Ironically, rather than receiving prison time, the perpetrators of this phenomenon instead receive seven or eight-figure salaries.

Politicians, especially those in power, have a tendency to minimize or discount economic downturns. Some go so far as to deny the existence of inflation. This pollyannaish, glass-half-full view of dire times is called disflation.

Used to describe the dystopian, post-apocalyptic world where no one cares about inflation. When all commerce is barter, the economy is said to be exflationary. Similar to anteflation.

A vague term used by economists to describe any anomalous financial glitch yet to be experienced. For example, if an economy simultaneously experiences inflation, deflation and stagflation, it’s easier to just call it neoflation.

Most economists believe in one inflation at a time. But a few prefer to be wedded to multiple economic inflationary trends. These scholars are called polyflationists and are most commonly found among the business school faculty of Brigham Young University.

Most economists are extremely cautious about inflation. A few, however, actively support all inflationary trends. These academic renegades are known as proflationists.

Reflation is a personal financial indicator. It’s the increase in value of individual investment holdings that occurs immediately after they’ve been sold following years of losses.

Certain segments of society remain unaffected by everyday economic fluctuations. Instead, they suffer from something called subflation or the complete absence of goods and services. These people are sometimes also identified as the poor and the homeless.

Hyperflation is a very high level of inflation such as that experienced in Germany in the 1920s or in Zimbabwe today. Superflation is a very high level of hyperflation and is marked by the use of paper currency for wallpaper, memo pads and toilet tissue.

Just like viral illnesses, inflation can be transmitted from country to country. Transflation. occurs when a national inflationary cycle jumps to a neighboring country thereby pushing its inflation rate even higher.

This is the decidedly unsettling state where nothing moves. No increases, no decreases, no ups, no downs and no excitement. Unflation is economic anomie.

1 comment:

J said...

The opposite of inflation is exflation.

And in addition to stagflation, you should have mentioned hindflation. You know, gender PC.