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By Professor Douglas C. Hague (eds.)

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I believe, however, that in the modern Western world business monopolies are much weaker than labour monopolies. They obviously lack the physical coercive power and rigid discipline which monopoly optimum. The reason for this behaviour might be that monopoly power was not fully used by the firms because they were afraid to arouse public opinion or to provoke government action. Wage increases, then, give management the opportunity to put the blame for the price rise on labour. However, these fine points of price strategy, of which some writers on inflation have made much, should not be allowed to obscure the essential difference between the import of business and labour monopolies for inflation.

For the reason given earlier, the mere fact that wages have risen faster than output per head does not, in my opinion, conclusively prove that wage push was the initiating factor throughout the ten years. 1 It has been argued that the price rise during the Korean War was not a case of classical demand inflation ; prices were 'pushed up' by speculation in anticipation of expected shortages and to beat an expected price freeze. It surely is misleading to say prices are 'pushed up' by speculation ; 'demandpull' does not exclude speculative demand and speculation is perfectly compatible with perfect competition.

Let me mention a few. Some say aggregate demand rising faster than aggregate supply 'pulls up' prices and wages. The rise in demand in turn may be due to a government deficit (government inflation) or to an expansion of bank credit for private investment (credit expansion) or rising demand from abroad (imported inflation) or an increase in gold production (gold inflation). Others say prices are being 'pushed up' by wage increases forced upon the economy by labour unions under threat of strike ; or costs may be raised by business monopolies (administered-price inflation).

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