Inflation Paranoia and the Return of the New Consensus in Macroeconomics

Economists have proposed two main theories to explain the recent spike in prices. Progressives have attributed the rise in inflation to corporate greed and have suggested price controls in response. Other economists have turned back to the New Consensus in Macroeconomics that arose in the 1970s in response to steep inflation blamed on the large Keynesian fiscal expansion of the preceding decades. Matías Vernengo writes that neither camp has correctly diagnosed the problems with current inflation. Proponents of Greedflation overlook the price stability of the last few decades even as market concentration increased. On the other hand, advocates of the New Consensus similarly forget their history and the commodity shocks and price-wage spiral that were the real culprit for inflation in the 1970s.

The Neo-Brandeisians Are Wrong About Greedflation

Some progressive politicians and advocates have argued that lax antitrust policies enabled the inflation surge that began in 2021 and that aggressive antitrust enforcement is crucial to combatting inflation. These assertions are misguided and misleading. Similar greedflation theories emerged during previous inflation spikes, but their promotion this time has proven counterproductive. The allure of trustbusting ideas, it seems, is starting to wane.