Inflation Cause, Effects and Remedies

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It’s causes, effect and remedies.
By: Subrat Choudhury

Inflation and Deflation
Inflation and Deflation, in economics, terms used to describe, respectively, a decline or an increase in the value of money, in relation to the goods and services it will buy. Inflation is the pervasive and sustained rise in the aggregate level of prices measured by an index of the cost of various goods and services. Repetitive price increases erode the purchasing power of money and other financial assets with fixed values, creating serious economic distortions and uncertainty. Inflation results when actual economic pressures and anticipation of future developments cause the demand for goods and services to exceed the supply available at existing prices or when available output is restricted by faltering productivity and marketplace constraints. Sustained price increases were historically directly linked to wars, poor harvests, political upheavals, or other unique events. Deflation involves a sustained decline in the aggregate level of prices, such as occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s; it is usually associated with a prolonged erosion of economic activity and high unemployment. Widespread price declines have become rare, however, and inflation is now the dominant variable affecting public and private economic planning.



When the upward trend of prices is gradual and irregular, averaging only a few percentage points each year, such creeping inflation is not considered a serious threat to economic and social progress. It may even stimulate economic activity: The illusion of personal income growth beyond actual productivity may encourage consumption; housing investment may increase in anticipation of future price appreciation; business investment in plants and equipment may accelerate as prices rise more rapidly than costs; and personal, business, and government borrowers realize that loans will be repaid with money that has potentially less purchasing power. A greater concern is the growing pattern of chronic inflation characterized by much higher price increases, at annual rates of 10 to 30 percent in some industrial nations and even 100 percent or more in a few developing countries. Chronic inflation tends to become permanent and ratchets upward to even higher levels as economic distortions and negative expectations accumulate. To accommodate chronic inflation, normal economic activities are disrupted: Consumers buy goods and services to avoid even higher prices; real estate speculation


increases; businesses concentrate on short-term investments; incentives to acquire savings, insurance policies, pensions, and long-term bonds are reduced because inflation erodes their future purchasing power; governments rapidly expand spending in anticipation of inflated revenues; and exporting nations suffer competitive trade disadvantages forcing them to turn to protectionism and arbitrary currency controls. In the most extreme form, chronic price increases become hyperinflation, causing the entire economic system to break down. The hyperinflation that occurred in Germany following World War I, for example, caused the volume of currency in circulation to expand more than 7 billion times and prices to jump 10 billion times during a 16-month period before November 1923. Other hyperinflations occurred in the United States and France in the late 1700s; in the USSR and Austria after World War I; in Hungary, China, and Greece after World War II; and in a few developing nations in recent years. During a hyperinflation the growth of money and credit becomes explosive, destroying any links to real assets and forcing a reliance on complex barter arrangements. As governments try to pay for increased spending programs by rapidly expanding the money supply, the inflationary financing of budget deficits disrupts economic, social, and political stability.



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