Economist’s View of the Economy

A recent speaking assignment at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA, allowed me the opportunity to listen to a national economist, Jeff Thredgold, from Salt Lake City, UT. He is a very good professional speaker and has been featured on CNBC and many of the financial networks.

Thredgold indicated that the U.S. would be in a period of low inflation. He gave four basic reasons:

  • Intense global competition does not allow businesses to raise prices. In the world today, there is one-third excess capacity.
  • Second, consumer behavior has changed. Consumers will now readily negotiate price as they have been conditioned to question list prices.
  • Third is that we spent $2.5 trillion on technology in the 1990s and $450 billion last year which gave us 4.2% productivity gains.
  • Fourth, the Internet has given us $1.25 trillion of investment and savings.
A side note, however, is that a resource based industry such as agriculture would suggest inflation is alive and well due to the dependence on oil, water and inflating land prices. Many of my banker friends are saying that they are finding their customers are now beginning to experience cash flow challenges.

Economist Jokes
Thredgold has written a real funny economist’s joke book titled On the One Hand. Here goes: An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things they predicted yesterday didn’t happen today!

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

This online exclusive is brought to you by The Corn and Soybean Digest