In western countries many people worry about inflation.
What's inflation? Prices of things are going up. That's all. Is that so bad? Yes. It's very bad. Much worse than you think. It hurts the society. It brings really serious injustices to people. It actually robs people of the economic assets the society owes them. It forces people who deserve a comfortable retirement to live their retirement years in poverty. But that isn't all.
Inflation really does tear the society apart. It forces everyone in the society to become active in fighting to see that the value of his income and the value of his assets keep going up at least as fast as prices are going up on everything else. Inflation forces workers to fight against excessive price increases. It forces businesses to announce excessive price increases. It forces state and local governments to pass excessive tax increases, while costs of government services surge forward even faster. Austerity budgets are forced on the public schools, colleges, health and welfare services, and highway departments. College students are forced to pay higher tuition and fees. People feel more and more cheated and get more and more angry.
What does inflation do? You can see how it tears the society apart! Everyone must fight as hard as he can just to stay in the same place —— to keep from being left behind. It causes unreasonableness, disagreement, mistrust, and unhappiness.
If inflation continues, people lose interest in saving money. Nobody wants to hold money, spend it! Hurry, before prices go up any more! Buy a new car. Buy land. Or stocks. Anything. But don't hold on to any money.
Once the people get afraid to hold money, they spend fast. Then prices really go up quickly! The next step is the complete collapse of the markets of the economy. People just refuse to accept money. Suddenly, there is no medium of exchange. The markets collapse. When the markets collapse, production stops. The economy collapses.
Do you begin to understand what inflation does to a society? If so, then you can understand why it is essential that inflation be controlled. If it isn't, soon it gets out of control. The further it goes, the more the people push to get their prices and wages up. So the worse it gets. In the end it can destroy the economy, the government, and the entire society.
The problem of inflation is very real. It is much more serious than most people realize —— potentially as dangerous as depression. Neither inflation nor depression can be ignored. But what can be done?
通货膨胀问题是非常现实的，它比人们了解的情况还要严重得多 —— 它的潜在危害跟经济萧条一样。通货膨胀和经济萧条都不能被忽视。我们该怎么办呢？