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Ask Dave

Explanation Of Inflation

Janine has a pretty basic question ... how does inflation work, and how can we stop it?

QUESTION: Janine wants to know what causes inflation, and how can it be stopped. Dave tells her what goes into it.

ANSWER: Inflation is the increase of the cost of something. If the inflation rate of gasoline is 10%, that means the cost of gasoline went up 10%. What causes things to go up in price are a lot of variables. One thing that can make it happen is supply and demand. If there are 100 people wanting 10 things, there will be a bidding war that will drive the price up. Conversely, if there are 10 people wanting 100 things, the demand is not as great and the price goes down.

Some other items in our economy have more complicated things to do with it. For example, if you buy food from outside the country, that country’s economy affects average inflation in this economy. If you’re buying a house and the shingles on the roof are more expensive because of oil in the shingles, then oil caused housing prices to go up. It gets very complicated and interconnected at that point. Basically, inflation is just the increase of prices.