Higher costs. Рост издержек производства
During a bout of inflation firms will face higher costs for the resources they need to carry on their business. They will have to pay higher wages to their employees to compensate them for rising prices. Supplies of raw materials and fuel will become more expensive as will rents and rates. The inevitable reaction to this is that the firm has to raise its own prices. This will lead to further demands for higher wages as is calledthe wage-price spiral. Such cost-push inflation may make the goods and services produced by that enterprise internationally less competitive in terms of price. An economy whose relative or comparative rate of inflation is high may find that it is unable to compete in home or foreign markets because its products are expensive. The economic model tells us that a situation of declining exports and increasing imports will lower the level of activity in the economy with all the consequent side-effects.
CAN INFLATION BE BENEFICIAL
We would be simplifying the impact of inflation on business if we suggested that all effects were unfavourable. There is a school of thought, which argues that a low and stable rate of increase in the price level can be beneficial. It believes that a steady rise in money profits produces favourable expectations and 'induces investment as firms seek to expand. This action expands the economy as a whole. Paradoxically, inflation can also reduce the costs of businesses in the short run. Many enterprises incur costs, which are fixed for some period of time – for example, the rent of a factory may be fixed at a particular figure for a few years. At a time when the selling price of the firm's product, and hence its sales income, is rising this cost will be falling in real terms and thus stimulating the business.
There is a. further argument that firms may be persuaded to borrow heavily in a period of inflation since the burden of repaying loans is reduced by inflation. If inflation is running annually at 10 per cent, for example, then the real value of the repayments of the loan will fall by approximately that amount each year. This may serve to encourage investment which, since it is an injection into the circular flow, will promote the level of activity. However, in these circumstances interest rates are likely to be high.
Government will accept that low rates of inflation are likely to exist in many economies. Inflation rates of 5 per cent or below arc not considered to be too great a problem, especially if competitor nations are suffering similar rates.
In spite of the above, the conclusion must be drawn that inflation is, in general, harmful to business and its environment. Indeed, many economists would contend that inflation is the fundamental evil as its presence leads to lack of competitiveness and therefore relatively high unemployment and low rates of growth. This viewpoint has gained in credence in government circles over the last few years. It is for this reason that its control has been a major objective of government economic policy throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.
MONEY AND BANKING
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