Well the news of India hitting sub zero inflation or more technically a deflation has been making rounds. The general sentiment around this news is negative, implying that its not a good thing to happen.
Before going further lets explore the economic definition of deflation.
In economics, deflation is a sustained decrease in the general price level of goods and services resulting in an increase in the real value of money — a negative inflation rate.
Now that sounds good. I definitely want the value of my money to increase and would be happy if i could buy things at a cheaper price. So why are people not happy about hitting deflation?
Well the real worry is that theoretically deflation is caused by fall in demand and in turn results in lower demand as buyers wait on the sidelines before committing to a new purchase thereby causing a deflationary spiral.
Before going any further lets see what is inflation and how is the inflationary figure calculated. Inflation is the increase in prices of a basket of goods over a period of time. So something that cost ed 100 units of currency costs 103 after a time period indicating that their is more demand than what supply can keep up with and purchasers are willing to pay more. This is technically supposed to prompt investment to increase supply.
Let me ask you this – what is the objective of increasing supply efficiencies? Simplistically speaking – to ensure there is enough goods that can satisfy the demand. If the demand matches supply then theoretically there should be zero inflation. So what growth is really aiming at is to eliminate inflation.
Looking back at historical data prices of a lot of goods have fallen absolute basis as efficiencies increased thereby prompting growth.
One classic example would be computers – just a few years back a PC with 1/10th the power costed around the same price as today. Same with medicines.
So I think deflation once a while is a good thing. It improves the purchasing power of money.
I like my groceries, cars, ipod’s, jewellary cheap and the house at an affordable rate (bet you do too!!).
So feel good that we are headed for a deflation and lets hope its not a deflationary spiral but just an adjustment of suppy, demand and prices.