The S-Word

David Merkel at RM notes that as controversial as the word "Stagflation" is, it is getting more popular as "references to the S-word lately both on the web, in print, and on the radio, but the gains are from a tiny base. Though inflation is rising, and the economy is slowing, the real drubbing that the US economy took in the 1970s is not happening now, and probably won’t happen, unless we get some sort of disruption in global flow of goods, services and capital."

A number of people who are presently bearish because they see slowing growth
and stronger inflation have nonetheless avoided using the "Stagflation" moniker.
The reason is that inflation was so much higher and growth was so much slower in
the 1970′s than the present economic scenario. Its simply a poor direct
comparison, and therefore a more creative phrase is needed:

This morning, Street Insight’s Doug Kass calls it "Blahflation;"

back in June, NYU’s Nouriel Roubini calls it Stagflation Lite;

In May 2005, I called it Demi-stagflation;

The key takeaway for wordsmiths and investors alike is that we are looking at a somewhat structurally similar economy to the 1970s — but one that is
unlikely to be anywhere near as bad as the 0% growth and 14% inflation of the
disco/bellbottoms/Nixon era.

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