Hayek: “I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation.”
Steve Horwitz had an interesting read last week on Friedrich von Hayek, the Nobel Prize winning Austrian School economist. Von Hayek is best known for his 1944 Libertarian call to arms “Road to Serfdom” and is generally considered one of the fathers of the free market ideology.
In Horwitz’s piece, he points out that Hayek was not a ‘liquidationist’ and he uses the title quote to demonstrate that Hayek saw deflation as destructive. Was this an evolution in beliefs? it’s hard to say.
Horowitz goes on to say:
Those Austrians who think deflation is always and everywhere a good phenomenon strongly overlap with those Austrians who wonder whether Hayek is really an Austrian (or a even a classical liberal) anyway, so I’m doubtful this will convince them of the claim that a concern with monetary deflation has been, and should be, a core part of Austrian monetary and macro theory. However, it does, in fact, bolster the case for a monetary equilibrium reading of Hayek.
The question, of course, is if price stability is the ultimate goal of monetary policy, how does one achieve that in a deflationary environment?
Hayek on Deflation and the Great Depression – Steve Horwitz