I generally agree withe everything @jpitts wrote.
I think this is pretty important to note and understand.
Of course, basic economic logic says that e.g. zero inflation can have only positive impact on the price (certainly not negative and probably not even neutral).
But, I would say that the Ethereum “KPIs” (state of the tech, app usage etc) and the overall state of the crypto ecosystem impact the price at least an order of magnitude more.
We need to decide on the specific inflation/rewards, sooner or later. I think it’s hardly possible to take into consideration all current alternative investment opportunities for validators/stakers, and it’s definitely impossible to account for the future opportunities, which implies that there is no scientific method to determine the optimal inflation. That said, I guess what remains is public discussion and gut feeling (public agreement to try with X% inflation and change it to Y% at a later point of time if needed). As I’ve said, it’s impossible to foresee future investment opportunities for stakers, so we might have to repeatedly adjust the inflation in future anyways, e.g. every few years (no. of validators can not be adjusted bellow a certain threshold if we want a secure system, so adjusting the inflation is the only variable to tune here).