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By Richard C.K. Burdekin

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Additional info for Distributional Conflict and Inflation: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives

Sample text

Here, inflationary pressure stems from organized efforts by capitalists and workers to increase their shares in the limited income available. Such conflicts may occur in the private sector (through wage bargaining and the pricing policies of firms), through the state (for example, increased demands by labor for social expenditures and by capital for investment subsidies, accelerated depreciation allowances, and so on), and via the feedback effects between these private- and public-sector conduits for the assertion of claims on national income (see Chapter 1 for discussion).

Distributional Conflict and Inflation © Richard C. K. 2 In this view, the policymaker has an incentive to 'use up' any ex ante rule-based reduction of private-sector inflation expectations by implementing surprise expansions of the money supply ex post. As rational private-sector decisionmakers become aware of this 'dynamic inconsistency' problem, they are likely to be discouraged from lowering their inflation expectations in response to any preannounced policy of restricting the rate of money supply growth.

146). Second, even if it were the case that 'inflation is always and everywhere an optimizing individual, not a group, phenomenon' - as is evidently argued under thefirstNeoclassical criticism - this would in itself be merely a special case of the more general conflict approach which also allows for the possibility that coalitions of individuals may be an important factor in many inflationary processes. It should be noted, however, that even in this special case it would surely be difficult to mistake the presence of objectively definable groups in the economy (for example, workers versus capitalists, unionized versus un-unionized workers) - groups likely to be affected by and participate in the inflationary process in perceivably different ways.

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