Speculation does not determine prices; it has to accept the prices that are determined in the market. I ts efforts are directed to correctly estimating future price-situations, and to acting accordingly. The influence of speculation cannot alter the average level of prices over a given period; what it can do is to diminish the gap between the highest and the lowest prices.
Ludwig von Mises
The oldest and most popular instrument of etatistic monetary policy is the official fixing of maximum prices. High prices, thinks the etatist, are not a consequence of an increase in the quantity of money, but a consequence of reprehensible activity on the part of 'bulls' and 'profiteers'; it will suffice to suppress their machinations in order to ensure the cessation of the rise of prices. Thus it is made a punishable offence to demand, or even to pay, 'excessive' prices.
Ludwig von Mises
As a rule, however, an increase in the value of money spreads only gradually. The first of those who have to content themselves with lower prices than before for the commodities they sell, while they still have to pay the old higher prices for the commodities they buy, are those who are injured by the increase in the value of money. Those, however, who are the last to have to reduce the prices of the commodities they sell, and have meanwhile been able to take advantage of the fall in the prices of other things, are those who profit by the change.
Ludwig von Mises
Stock prices are likely to be among the prices that are relatively vulnerable to purely social movements because there is no accepted theory by which to understand the worth of stocks....investors have no model or at best a very incomplete model of behavior of prices, dividend, or earnings, of speculative assets.
Robert J. Shiller
What is a price? It is a proposed point of agreement between a buyer and seller. The proposal is the key. It is not a marching order. Past prices represent deals done in history. Current prices represent possible deals in the future. Prices embed vast information about perceived realities: resource availability, consumer demand, cultural biases and habits, speculations about the future. The price is also an amazing tool. It provides an objective basis for accounting and the assessment of profit and loss. Without prices, real prices rooted in real market experience, we'd been lost.
In a narrow market, when prices are not getting anywhere to speak of but move within a narrow range, there is no sense in trying to anticipate what the next big movement is going to be. The thing to do is to watch the market, read the tape to determine the limits of the get nowhere prices, and make up your mind that you will not take an interest until the prices breaks through the limit in either direction.
Jesse Lauriston Livermore
People want to buy cheap and sell dear; this by itself makes them countertrend. But the notion of cheapness or dearness must be anchored to something. People tend to view the prices they're used to as normal and prices removed from these levels as aberrant. This perpective leads people to trade counter to an emerging trend on the assumption that prices will eventually return to "normal". Therein lies the path to disaster.
The greatest danger to an adequate old-age security plan is rising prices. A rise of 2% a year in prices would cut the purchasing power of pensions about 45% in 30 years. The greatest danger of rising prices is from wages rising faster than output per man-hour.... Whether the nation succeeds in providing adequate security for retired workers depends in large measure upon the wage policies of trade unions.
Under the antitrust laws, a man becomes a criminal from the moment he goes into business, no matter what he does. If he complies with one of these laws, he faces criminal prosecution under several others. For instance, if he charges prices which some bureaucrats judge as too high, he can be prosecuted for monopoly or for a successful 'intent to monopolize'; if he charges prices lower than those of his competitors, he can be prosecuted for 'unfair competition' or 'restraint of trade'; and if he charges the same prices as his competitors, he can be prosecuted for 'collusion' or 'conspiracy.'
We've done price elasticity studies, and the answer is always that we should raise prices. We don't do that, because we believe -- and we have to take this as an article of faith -- that by keeping our prices very, very low, we earn trust with customers over time, and that that actually does maximize free cash flow over the long term.
No politician can praise unemployment or inflation, and there is no way of combining high employment with stable prices that does not involve some control of income and prices. Otherwise the struggle for more consumption and more income to sustain it-a struggle that modern corporations, modern unions and modern democracy all facilitate and encourage-will drive up prices. Only heavy unemployment will then temper this upward thrust. Not many wish to confront the truth that the modern economy gives a choice only between inflation, unemployment, or controls.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Alterations in real prices occur slowly as a rule. But this stability of prices has its cause in the stability of the price-determinants, not in the Law of Price-determination itself. Prices change slowly because the subjective valuations of human beings change slowly. Human needs, and human opinions as to the suitability of goods for satisfying those needs, are no more liable to frequent and sudden changes than are the stocks of goods available for consumption, or the manner of their social distribution;
Ludwig von Mises
In the lean approach, companies are taught that prices are set by the market and that one way to improve profit margin is to reduce costs. This thinking flies in the face of "cost plus" thinking, where we look first at our own costs and set prices based on our desired profit margin. The reality is that most companies whether manufacturers or hospitals, do not have market power to set prices as they wish.
It's estimated that about 30 percent of the increase in grain prices could be attributed to the decision to embrace biofuels, particularly corn-based ethanol. It has done nothing for climate change and the business is in real trouble now with the collapse of oil prices. It's completely dependent on a dollar subsidy and tariff from the government.
The Reichswirtschaftsministerium ('Reich Ministry of Economic Affairs') tells the shop managers what and how to produce, at what prices and from whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. It assigns every worker to his job and fixes his wages. It decrees to whom and on what terms the capitalists must entrust their funds. Market exchange is merely a sham.
Ludwig von Mises
It will be the obvious result of this that the prices of the goods concerned will rise, and that the objective exchange-value of money will fall in comparison. But this rise of prices will by no means be restricted to the market for those goods that are desired by those who originally have the new money at their disposal. In addition, those who have brought these goods to market will have their incomes and their proportionate stocks of money increased and, in their tum, will be in a position to demand more intensively the goods they want, so that these goods will also rise in price. Thus the increase of prices continues, having a diminishing effect, until all commodities, some to a greater and some to a lesser extent, are reached by it.
Ludwig von Mises
Exporting oil would not drive up prices at the pump. American drivers buy refined products, which the U.S. already exports. Many studies - from a range of institutions and government agencies, including the Congressional Budget Office and the Energy Information Administration - have shown that lifting the export ban could actually lower gas prices.
It is an unfortunate fact that great and foolish excess can come into prices of common stocks in the aggregate. They are valued partly like bonds, based on roughly rational projections of use value in producing future cash. But they are also valued partly like Rembrandt paintings, purchased mostly because their prices have gone up, so far.
The first people to get the new money are the counterfeiters, which they use to buy various goods and services. The second receivers of the new money are the retailers who sell those goods to the counterfeiters. And on and on the new money ripples out through the system, going from one pocket or till to another. As it does so, there is an immediate redistribution effect. For first the counterfeiters, then the retailers, etc. have new money and monetary income they use to bid up goods and services, increasing their demand and raising the prices of the goods that they purchase. But as prices of goods begin to rise in response to the higher quantity of money, those who haven't yet received the new money find the prices of the goods they buy have gone up, while their own selling prices or incomes have not risen. In short, the early receivers of the new money in this market chain of events gain at the expense of those who receive the money toward the end of the chain, and still worse losers are the people (e.g., those on fixed incomes such as annuities, interest, or pensions) who never receive the new money at all.
Murray N. Rothbard
In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before.
The mere possession of monopoly power, and the concomitant charging of monopoly prices, is not only not unlawful, it is an important element of the free-market system. The opportunity to charge monopoly prices - at least for a short period - is what attracts 'business acumen' in the first place; it induces risk taking that produces innovation and economic growth.
People are, by and large, quite poor at judging correct absolute values but are astute about determining relative values. Psychologists call this coherent arbitrariness, which suggests that individuals are coherent when they compare prices on a relative basis but arbitrary when those prices are considered versus fundamental value.
The proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause people's substance to be drained away. When their substance is drained away, they will be afflicted by heavy exactions. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and their incomes dissipated.
The horn of dilemma of energy politics is what really drives concern about this energy in this country, at the gut level for most people, is high gas prices. And if you really want to fight global warming and try to reduce our carbon emissions, the cleanest, easiest, most rational way to do it would to make the price of gas even higher through very stiff gas prices.
I do not mean to impugn the social justice and social expediency of the redistribution of incomes aimed at by N.I.R.A. and by the various schemes for agricultural restriction. The latter, in particular, I should strongly support in principle. But too much emphasis on the remedial value of a higher price-level as an object in itself may lead to serious misapprehension as to the part which prices can play in the technique of recovery. The stimulation of output by increasing aggregate purchasing power is the right way to get prices up; and not the other way round.
John Maynard Keynes
I contend that financial markets never reflect the underlying reality accurately; they always distort it in some way or another and the distortions find expression in market prices. Those distortions can, occasionally, find ways to affect the fundamentals that market prices are supposed to reflect.
We're more familiar with what economists call an English auction - prices start low and rise as people bid. However, there is also the Dutch auction, where prices start high and go lower until somebody bites. Movies are sold to the audience via a very slow Dutch auction, where each phase between price drops can last weeks or months.
The American people have no idea they are paying the bill. They know that someone is stealing their hubcaps, but they think it is the greedy businessman who raises prices or the selfish laborer who demands higher wages or the unworthy farmer who demands too much for his crop or the wealthy foreigner who bids up our prices. They do not realize that these groups also are victimized by a monetary system which is constantly being eroded in value by and through the Federal Reserve System.
G. Edward Griffin
Target prices? How that works? I know quite a bit about farm policy. I come from Indiana, which is a farm state. Deficiency payments - which are the key - that is what gets money into the farmer's hands. We got loan, uh, rates, we got target, uh, prices, uh, I have worked very closely with my senior colleague, (Indiana Sen.) Richard Lugar, making sure that the farmers of Indiana are taken care of.
You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we'll look back at the first decade of the 21st century when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?
It is a natural propensity to attribute misfortune to someone's malignity. When prices rise, it is due to the profiteer; when wages fall, it is due to the capitalist. Why the capitalist is ineffective when wages rise, and the profiteer when prices fall, the man in the street does not inquire. Nor does he notice that wages and prices rise and fall together. If he is a capitalist, he wants wages to fall and prices to rise; if he is a wage earner, he wants the opposite. When a currency expert tries to explain that profiteers and trade unions and ordinary employers have very little to do with the matter, he irritates everybody, like the man who threw doubt on German atrocities. (In World War I) We do not like to be robbed of an enemy; we want someone to have when we suffer. It is so depressing to think taht we suffer because we are fools; yet taking mankind in mass, that is the truth. For this reason, no political party can acquire any driving force except through hatred; it must hold someone to obloquy. If so-and-so's wickedness is the sole cause of our misery, let us punish so-and-so and we shall be happy. The supreme example of this kind of political thought was the Treaty of Versailles. Yet most people are only seeking some new scapegoat to replace the Germans.
I'll tell you what I'd do if it were up to me: I would establish a strictly controlled distribution network through which I would make most drugs, excluding the most dangerous ones like crack, legally available. Initially I would keep the prices low enough to destroy the drug trade. Once that objective was attained I would keep raising the prices, very much like the excise duty on cigarettes, but I would make an exception for registered addicts in order to discourage crime. I would use a portion of the income for prevention and treatment. And I would foster social opprobrium of drug use.
Price controls almost invariably produce black markets, where prices are not only higher than the legally permitted prices, but also higher than they would be in a free market, since the legal risks must also be compensated. While small-scale black markets may function in secrecy, large-scale black markets usually require bribes to officials to look the other way.
We think of prices as simply the notation of how much we must pay for things. But the price system accomplishes far more than that. Hundreds of millions of people buying and selling, and abstaining from buying and selling, generate a system of signals - prices to producers and consumers about relative scarcities and demand. Through this system, consumers can convey to producers their subjective priorities and entrepreneurs can invest accordingly.
If you expect to be a net saver during the next 5 years, should you hope for a higher or lower stock market during that period? Many investors get this one wrong. Even though they are going to be net buyers of stocks for many years to come, they are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall. This reaction makes no sense. Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices.
Recent evidence confirms that retail prices of essential consumer goods in poor countries are not appreciably lower than in the United States or Western Europe. In fact, with deregulation and "free trade", the cost of living in many Third World cities is now higher than in the United States. My experience in Latin America and Haiti is that the prices of meat, fish and fresh vegetables are about the same as in the United States. Can you imagine eating on less than one dollar a day?
Vincent A. Gallagher
The idea that when people see prices falling they will stop buying those cheaper goods or cheaper food does not make much sense. And aiming for 2 percent inflation every year means that after a decade prices are more than 25 percent higher and the price level doubles every generation. That is not price stability, yet they call it price stability. I just do not understand central banks wanting a little inflation.
The attributes of God have been carefully explored. But the Devil's attributes have been left vague. I think I've found one of them. It is he who puts the prices on things." "Doesn't God put a price on things?" "No. One of his attributes is magnanimity. But the Devil is a setter of prices, and a usurer, as well. You buy from him at an agreed price, but the payments are all on time, and the interest is charged on the whole of the principal, right up to the last payment, however much of the principal you think you have paid off in the meantime.
Let us merely discuss the question, what consequences would necessarily follow if, ceteris paribus, with an increasing quantity of money, prices were restricted to the old level by official compulsion? An increase in the quantity of money leads to the appearance in the market of new desire to purchase, which had previously not existed; 'new purchasing power', it is usual to say, has been created. If the new would-be purchasers compete with those that are already in the market, then, so long as it is not permissible to raise prices, only part of the total purchasing power can be exercised.
Ludwig von Mises
The core of the doctrine consists in the proposition that the supply of money and the demand for it both affect its value. This proposition is probably a sufficiently good hypothesis to explain big changes in prices; but it is far from containing a complete theory of the value of money. It describes one cause of changes in prices; it is nevertheless inadequate for dealing with the problem exhaustively. By itself it does not comprise a theory of the value of money; it needs the basis of a general value theory. One after another, the doctrine of supply and demand, the cost-of-production theory, and the subjective theory of value have had to provide the foundations for the Quantity Theory.
Ludwig von Mises
This morning, prompted by increasing concerns about terrorism, oil prices reached a record high as the cost of a barrel of crude is a whopping $44.34. Wow, it seems shocking that a product of finite supply gets more expensive the more we use it. Now the terror alert means higher oil prices, which oddly enough means higher profits for oil companies giving them more money to give to politicians whose policies may favor the oil companies such as raising the terror alert level. As Simba once told us: "It's the circle of life."