Friday, May 10, 2013

Inflation vs. Investments

As I was reading through this critique of Feldstein, I was once again struck by how clueless the "inflation is coming" nuts are.  It's not just that they are supposedly smart but keep being very wrong.  It is incongruous wrongness.

Just to note: if inflation is coming, then there isn't reason to fear what you think is a bubble (asset prices, stocks) other than, perhaps, bonds.  The reasoning is pretty simple: if we are about to have 10% inflation then expected price increases and cash flows will all be expected to go up pretty quickly.  This more than justifies higher prices today than you would expect otherwise.  If, on the other hand you think that things are very overvalued, then you are implicitly arguing that there is not going to be inflation (or, for that matter, much growth) over the coming few-several years. 

[Federal government] bonds are kind of a weird one, in that, while a high price may come down, the only way to lose value is to inflation.  This means that in order to justify any attempt to short them you have to have expectations of some serious inflation around the corner, but if that would really be the case, you should see many other asset classes as being at least as good if not better, and without the problematic shorting issues.

Also, too: hedge funds are really crappy places to put your money.  

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