Inflation refers to the general increase in prices of goods and services over time. When inflation occurs, the purchasing power of money decreases, which means that you can buy less with the same amount of money.
Imagine you have $10, and you could buy a sandwich with that money. However, if inflation happens, the price of the sandwich may increase to $12. Now, with the same $10, you can no longer afford the sandwich because the price has gone up. This is because the value of money has decreased due to inflation.
Inflation can be caused by various factors, such as increased production costs, higher demand for goods and services, or changes in government policies. It is typically measured by tracking the prices of a basket of commonly purchased goods and services over time.
When inflation is moderate and predictable, it can actually be beneficial for the economy. It encourages spending and investment because people know that prices will likely rise in the future, so they prefer to buy goods and services now. However, if inflation becomes too high or unpredictable, it can have negative effects on the economy, such as eroding savings, reducing purchasing power, and creating uncertainty for businesses and consumers.
Central banks and governments often try to manage inflation by implementing monetary and fiscal policies. For example, a central bank may increase interest rates to reduce the money supply and slow down spending, which can help control inflation.
Overall, inflation is the general increase in prices over time, leading to a decrease in the purchasing power of money. It can have both positive and negative impacts on the economy, depending on its level and stability.