An item we all likely buy on a regular basis has a double-whammy price that includes inflation plus shrinkflation. We know how this story ends…
We have taken many looks at different types of inflation in the Hyperinflation Watch.
We chronological, in real time, the early stages of hyperinflation that keep creeping up on a global scale.
We’re not talking about Venezuela or Zimbabwe here, but First World industrialized nations.
Here’s the thing: When taken individually, these isolated incidences seem unrelated, but just like snowflakes accumulate one by one on the mountaintop before the deadly avalanche, as time goes by these seemingly unrelated goods and services take their cumulative toll on everybody and eventually turn into a full blown loss of confidence in the currency.
You see, at a point, as sheeple as the masses may be, something clicks in the collective psyche and we enter into what is called a “crack-up boom”.
Think any of the hyperinflation of late, and that’s where we’re headed. Whether it’s the Wiemar Hyperinflation, or the more recent Zimbabwe or Venezuelan Hyperinflations, that is the end stage.
The death spiral happens on the periphery, but make no mistake about it. We’ll get there at some point.
Sometimes I highlight goods, other times its services, and there’s even been a time I’ve highlighted a virtual good. Check out the link at the beginning of this article to see some of the different topics.
This week, let’s look at something that may people take for granted: The chocolate bar.
And for this edition, we’re going across the pond for the news.
In somewhat of an irony to George Orwell and a point he made about chocolate in his famous book 1984, let’s first start with some doublespeak since this is a doubly-bad inflation plus shrinkflation whammy.
Winston Smith, the protagonist in 1984, said that with propaganda, the government could reduce the size of the chocolate ration and the people would think they actually increased it (bold added for emphasis):
The phrase ‘our new, happy life’ recurred several times. It had been a favourite of late with the Ministry of Plenty. Parsons, his attention caught by the trumpet call, sat listening with a sort of gaping solemnity, a sort of edified boredom. He could not follow the figures, but he was aware that they were in some way a cause for satisfaction. He had lugged out a huge and filthy pipe which was already half full of charred tobacco. With the tobacco ration at 100 grammes a week it was seldom possible to fill a pipe to the top. Winston was smoking a Victory Cigarette which he held carefully horizontal. The new ration did not start till tomorrow and he had only four cigarettes left. For the moment he had shut his ears to the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too — in some more complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, ALONE in the possession of a memory?
So without further ado, compliments of the BBC, here’s the new chocolate ration. It’s actually been raised you know!
No matter your bar of choice, in all likelihood everybody’s favorite chocolate bar is affected.
Since 2014, for example, the price of a Twix 4-pack has gone up a mind-blowing 43.5% (what about that 2% inflation target? Oh yeah, stuff people actually buy like food aren’t counted in the “official” statistic, at least on this side of the pond anyway):
Making matters worse, the same pack of Twix has shrunk in size by 20%:
Interestingly, what happened from 2014 until 2018?
The price of oil collapsed.
Think about that for a second.
The price of oil collapsed in mid-2014 over the course of nearly two years, ultimately bottoming in early 2016:
In fact, that chocolate inflation plus shrinkflation happened during a time when commodity prices in general collapsed:
Crude has only recently begun picking up speed since last summer:
Why do I bring this up?
Because the world runs on energy.
And we have rising energy prices and a commodities index that has carved out a bottom and is now turning up.
But those chocolate price increases and product weight decreases were done in the midst of falling energy prices.
So here’s a question: As the price for energy and commodities increase, is it possible that we see continued, even more dramatic, inflation plus shrinkflation?
And at a point, it will turn into hyperinflation because the over-riding principle of governments and central banks around the world is “inflate or die”.
– Half Dollar