Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon

Milton Friedman coined the phrase “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”. He would have been aghast, I think, if he were still around to see this chart of the US monetary base:

Source: US Federal Reserve

The growth in the money supply, if broadly in line with growth in GDP, will see prices generally stable. Prices will change among goods and services for many reasons such as technological advancements but the overall value of money will be stable.

If the money supply is doubled with no reference to the change in GDP, the value of money will halve. It won’t happen immediately but rather through time. Once it washes through the economy it will be a permanent reduction in the purchasing power of money.

The rocket launch you see near the right end of this chart was February 2020. The prior 10 years had been worrying enough. But in the first half of 2020, alarm bells were ringing loudly and consistently for anyone who wanted to hear them.