In the News April 15
Economic Matters of Concern
Why We Suffer from Price Inflation
Price inflation suddenly has been added to the problems working people face. The ruling elite have not offered any suitable explanation for this attack on people’s living standards. Empty words come from opportunist cartel politicians who blame their opponents for the rise in prices and from economic experts who mostly throw up their hands in exasperation and say the phenomenon is all very mysterious and nothing can be done that favours the people.
A phenomenon can be declared “mysterious” but a mystery as important as the economy needs demystifying, clarity and control because otherwise it harms the people’s lives and security.
But really, prices are not that mysterious. Something is worth such and such because of the work-time that has gone into making and delivering it. If the amount of work-time falls the price falls as well, which is the general trend with increased productivity.
The worth or price of a good or service stays the same as long as the work-time producing it stays the same and a need for it persists. When a money figure is attached to a particular good or service it can be evaluated in comparison with the value of all other available goods and services most importantly the money value of workers’ capacity to work, their wages and salaries.
A problem arises from an arbitrary change in the evaluation of the money price of goods and services to serve particular private interests. The money price goes up or sometimes down without an equivalent increase or decrease in the value of the good or service according to the work-time required to produce and deliver it and a need for the commodity still exists. Something is amiss.
In this case, someone or some authority is fooling around with the money equivalent of the good or service. Someone or some authority is fooling around with the money equivalent because it serves their narrow private interests in contradiction with the general interest of the people and economy. What else could it be? Obviously they are not concerned with the well-being of the people because they would not fool around with the money equivalent of goods and services to serve narrow private interests if that were the case and cause damage to the economy and the lives of people.
Someone or some authority is hiding behind the false notion that price inflation is mysterious so they can manipulate money prices to serve their narrow private interests. If the working people deprive them of the power to manipulate money prices they can be stopped. How to stop them is the issue the people face.
Control of money prices and keeping them in line with their actual value in work-time should not be that difficult using today’s computers and the massive productivity and socialized nature of the modern economy. Any large store knows exactly how much inventory they are holding, how much they sell in an average month, and how much they should order. Every time a purchaser checks out an item the transaction is registered in the store’s computers.
Particular transactions are duplicated generally throughout the economy. Statistics Canada has massive computers for compiling and generalizing all that particular information. The money supply and particular prices can all be controlled to serve the general interest using this information if the aim and motive are there to do so.
If the population grows or certain needs for a good or service are recognized and fulfilled, or conversely, as goods are consumed or not wanted, the money supply and prices can be adjusted automatically. Of course to reach general stability, the particulars in the economy must be shared and publicly known. This means to serve the general good of the people, economy and society, powerful private interests must be deprived of their power to keep their particular business secret and to manipulate money prices of what their workers produce and sell.
Big business must not have the power to hide and shroud in mystery any aspect of the economy including the particular part of the economy they consider under their control. The people must be in control and have full knowledge of what is going on. To gain this knowledge and control requires political authority and power to deprive powerful private interests of their political and economic authority and the control they have to deprive the people of their rights.
The first order of business for the people is to assert their outlook that the modern economy is their economy and knowable and not the private purview or personal fiefdom of the global oligarchy to serve their private interests. The people can figure out what is what in their economy and refuse to be dictated to by the global oligarchy on any issues including prices. The modern economy can be made to serve the people’s interests and rights and the general good of society and to humanize the social and natural environment.
How the people gain the necessary political control and authority to affirm their authority and rights is the burning question and problem of the day to resolve. Working people obviously cannot accomplish this alone; they must be organized in collectives upholding their modern outlook and in action making their claims on the economy and fighting for democratic renewal to assert in practice their control and rights.
Workers’ Forum, posted April 15, 2022