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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yeager on Say's Law

"Say's Law, or a crude version of it, rules out general overproduction: an excess supply of some things in relation to the demand for them necessarily constitutes an excess demand for some other things in relation to their supply... The catch is this: while an excess supply of some things necessarily mean an excess demand for others, those other things may, unhappily, be money. If so, depression in some industries no longer entails boom in others...

"[T]he quantity of money people desire to hold does not always just equal the quantity they possess. Equality of the two is an equilibrium condition, not an identity. Only in... monetary equilibrium are they equal. Only then are the total value of goods and labor supplied and demanded equal, so that a deficient demand for some kinds entails and excess demand for others.

 "Say's law overlooks monetary disequilibrium. If people on the whole are trying to add more money to their total cash balances than is being added to the total money stock (or are trying to maintain their cash balances when the money stock is shrinking), they are trying to sell more goods and labor than are being bought. If people on the whole are unwilling to add as much money to their total cash balances as is being added to the total money stock (or are trying to reduce their cash balances when the money stock is not shrinking), they are trying to buy more goods and labor than are being offered." -- The Fluttering Veil: Essays on Monetary Disequilibrium, p. 4-6

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