Are there alternative, less socially costly, ways to bring inflation down?
Reliance on established macroeconomic thinking is not of much use in trying to understand what to do in response to the constellation of forces driving up inflation in these times of COVID-19 and war. This paper attempts to reduce the heat and turn up the light in the debate on the return of high inflation and looming stagflation—by providing evidence-based answers to the main (policy) questions concerning the return of high inflation: is the increased inflation due to (global) supply and/or demand factors? Is the inflation in the US exceptional or are other OECD and emerging economies experiencing similar inflationary pressures? Is the increase in inflation permanent or transitory? Can the Fed safely bring down inflation? Is fiscal policy the underlying cause of inflation? Are there alternative, less socially costly, ways to bring inflation down? And what will happen to inflation in the longer run, when the US and other economies will face the impacts of global warming?