As causas monetárias da geral subida de preços das mercadorias, matérias-primas, combustíveis e metais preciosos (para já não falar do imobiliário) só são evidentes para quem percebe a importância para a economia do tipo de oferta monetária pela qual se regula o sistema de preços. A responsabilidade dos bancos centrais na actual subida generalizada de preços já nem pode escapar a economistas mainstream, que até já reparam no mistério de os oficiais índices de preços ao consumidor não acusarem estas subidas e menos reflectirem o descontrolado aumento da massa monetária em circulação. Veja-se a da Zona Euro desde 2000 no quadro em baixo (M3), que regista uma taxa espantosa de +78% em oito anos, cerca de +9,75% por ano:
Hossein Askari (George Washington University) e Noureddine Krichene (FMI), em "Inflationary Trends in World Commodities Markets: 2003-2007", chegam à seguinte conclusão:
«Recent trends in commodity prices have been problematic. By sustaining an increase at 23 percent per year during 2003M5–2007M7, commodity prices became inflationary and caused prices to increase rapidly in most countries. We have shown that the simultaneous increase in all prices during 2003M5–2007M7 was the delayed effect of an overly expansionary monetary policy, which led to a fast expansion of all types of credits, irrespective of creditworthiness, and to a strong expansion of demand for real assets, goods, and services. In view of supply constraints, commodity prices moved rapidly in response to large excess demand. In particular, there was no specific shock confined to a single commodity market, such as an oil shock; instead, all commodity markets were under the same shock, which was identified as a common monetary shock.
Monetary stance has been loose, mainly as real interest rates were eroded by inflation, and inflationary expectations have become self-fulfilling. Maintaining present monetary stance would cause further rise in commodity prices, and could result in a severe world recession and disorderly financial markets. In order to rein in inflation and bring back a measure of stability in commodity and financial markets, monetary policy has to be tightened considerably and be directed to strictly controlling money supply. A tightened monetary policy would necessarily cause a tremendous increase in interest rates, a debt crisis given the low quality and high volume of loans, and a temporary recession; however, its merit would be to uproot inflation and stabilize markets. In sum, the world economy faces a dilemma: maintaining present course of monetary policy would ruin real value of financial assets, international reserves, and would turn recessionary. If the course of monetary policy is to be corrected, through controlling money supply, interest rates will go up sharply, exchange rates will appreciate, a debt crisis may erupt, and a temporary recession may set in as was the experience in 1979-82. The merit of prudent monetary policy would be to bring back price stability and durable economic growth, as illustrated by episodes during 1980-99.»
Para uma leitura no essencial não muito diferente, ver a interessante perspectiva de Christopher K. Potter (Outubro 2007), um dos "excêntricos" defensores do ouro, em "Gold Money – Determining An Appropriate US Dollar Exchange Rate", que diz a dada altura aquilo que todos os comentadores deveriam ter presente nos seus raciocínios:
«In today’s environment of excessive monetary growth, central banks have a very difficult time achieving their stated goal of controlling inflation. Most people associate inflation with higher prices but they fail to associate higher prices with loose monetary policy.»