As the mainstream public and media starts grasping the significance of rising food prices around the world, their focus, and the focus of most people is on how terrible it is for poor people or for poor countries, but this problem is more insidious, and damaging for our economy.
Taking a step back, one of the goals of the Fed is to force velocity of money by raising prices, especially necessities, thus creating the whirlwind of economic activity that can be taxed and diverted to the bankers. In their mind they solve two problems in one for themselves, and cause some inconvenience along the way for masses.
But we are not in a demand push inflation, but a cost push variety with no increase in domestic income, but more importantly, they are neglecting Maslows laws of well being; specifically when people start to worry about food security and in our case ability to pay for food, a multiplier effect takes hold; in the wrong direction. People shut down when pursuing safety.
In my view food, and for purpose of this post, is non prepared grocery food, and it is low margin and low velocity. As prices in the market go up, and wages do not, the first effect is rolling down from restaurant eating, then the high margin prepared foods in the market are targeted. This brings us to today, going forward the next roll down is from discretionary food items, and label brands to basics and store brands.
Now it gets interesting, as food and fuel push up from here, the next area is discretionary other spending, which rips into the heart of our service economy, margin squeezes on everything not essential will happen first, then these businesses will simply give up and close.
My point is as people focus on basics, and worrying about the future cost of said basics, they are less likely to have the animal spirits to create the velocity the FED desires, buying food instead of something else is not simply a one for one substitution of expense in the family budget, and replacing high margin spending with low margin ones, does not drive us out of this ditch, it perpetuates it.
It is ironic to me that every business in this country either becomes a non profit or extinct, so the bankers can be made whole. Where is the CEO outcry?