<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Big bucks in zimbabwe

The image shows a photograph of Zimbabwean currency.
This bill was worth 100 billion Zimbabwean dollars when issued in 2008. There were even bills issued with a face value of 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. The bills had $100,000,000,000,000 written on them. Unfortunately, they were almost worthless. At one point, 621,984,228 Zimbabwean dollars were equal to one U.S. dollar. Eventually, the country abandoned its own currency and allowed foreign currency to be used for purchases. (Credit: modification of work by Samantha Marx/Flickr Creative Commons)

A $550 million loaf of bread?

If you were born within the last three decades in the United States, Canada, or many other countries in the developed world, you probably have no real experience with a high rate of inflation. Inflation is when most prices in an entire economy are rising. But there is an extreme form of inflation called hyperinflation. This occurred in Germany between 1921 and 1928, and more recently in Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2009. In November of 2008, Zimbabwe had an inflation rate of 79.6 billion percent. In contrast, in 2014, the United States had an average annual rate of inflation of 1.6%.

Zimbabwe’s inflation rate was so high it is difficult to comprehend. So, let’s put it into context. It is equivalent to price increases of 98% per day. This means that, from one day to the next, prices essentially double. What is life like in an economy afflicted with hyperinflation? Not like anything you are familiar with. Prices for commodities in Zimbabwean dollars were adjusted several times each day . There was no desire to hold on to currency since it lost value by the minute. The people there spent a great deal of time getting rid of any cash they acquired by purchasing whatever food or other commodities they could find. At one point, a loaf of bread cost 550 million Zimbabwean dollars. Teachers were paid in the trillions a month; however this was equivalent to only one U.S. dollar a day. At its height, it took 621,984,228 Zimbabwean dollars to purchase one U.S. dollar.

Government agencies had no money to pay their workers so they started printing money to pay their bills rather than raising taxes. Rising prices caused the government to enact price controls on private businesses, which led to shortages and the emergence of black markets. In 2009, the country abandoned its currency and allowed foreign currencies to be used for purchases.

How does this happen? How can both government and the economy fail to function at the most basic level? Before we consider these extreme cases of hyperinflation, let’s first look at inflation itself.

Introduction to inflation

In this chapter, you will learn about:

  • Tracking Inflation
  • How Changes in the Cost of Living are Measured
  • How the U.S. and Other Countries Experience Inflation
  • The Confusion Over Inflation
  • Indexing and Its Limitations

Inflation is a general and ongoing rise in the level of prices in an entire economy. Inflation does not refer to a change in relative prices. A relative price change occurs when you see that the price of tuition has risen, but the price of laptops has fallen. Inflation, on the other hand, means that there is pressure for prices to rise in most markets in the economy. In addition, price increases in the supply-and-demand model were one-time events, representing a shift from a previous equilibrium to a new one. Inflation implies an ongoing rise in prices. If inflation happened for one year and then stopped—well, then it would not be inflation any more.

This chapter begins by showing how to combine prices of individual goods and services to create a measure of overall inflation. It discusses the historical and recent experience of inflation, both in the United States and in other countries around the world. Other chapters have sometimes included a note under an exhibit or a parenthetical reminder in the text saying that the numbers have been adjusted for inflation. In this chapter, it is time to show how to use inflation statistics to adjust other economic variables, so that you can tell how much of, say, the rise in GDP over different periods of time can be attributed to an actual increase in the production of goods and services and how much should be attributed to the fact that prices for most things have risen.

Inflation has consequences for people and firms throughout the economy, in their roles as lenders and borrowers, wage-earners, taxpayers, and consumers. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some imperfections and biases in the inflation statistics, and a preview of policies for fighting inflation that will be discussed in other chapters.

Questions & Answers

what are two classical macroeconomics and what're their theories say about their equations?
AMARA Reply
what is the formula for calculating elasticity
aza Reply
mpp÷APP
Umar
what is elasticity of demand?
Rita Reply
hello
Osanday
hi
SHERO
Causes of economic growth
pierre Reply
What is elasticity of demand
pierre
What are the causes of economic growth
pierre
economic growth, establishment of industry, encourage of investor's, farm productivities, creation of institutions, construction of good road etc
Oyewale
elasticity of demand can be said to be the responsiveness of demand to a change in prices
fateemah
impact of collusion in the economy referring to inefficiencies illustrated by means of graph
nondumiso Reply
The Factor price will determine the choice of techniques to produce.Expantiate
dajan
what is elasticity of demand?
Etta Reply
state and explain two types of demand
Etta
Institution involved in money market
Gande Reply
what is Economics
Kwame Reply
Economic is the study of scarcity
Kolade
Economics is the study of a lot of things. It is split up into two areas of study, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of an individual's choices in the economy and Macroeconomics is the study of the economy as a whole.
The
Economics is a science that studies human scarcity
Agnes
What is Equilibrium price?
Agnes
Equilibrium is the market clearing price. The point at which quantity demanded equals quantity supplied. The point at which the supply and demand curves intersect.
The
Equilibrium price*
The
Refers to the study of how producers use limited resources to satisfy human unlimited wants
Gatoya
why is economics important
Derrick Reply
What will you do as a consumer if you are not at equilibrium?
chukwu Reply
am new I will like to know about the graph relationship
Gloria Reply
comment on WTO principle on trading system. trade without discrimination
Omben Reply
optimize z=f(x,y)=6x²-9x-3xy-7y+5y²
Alex Reply
What is an indifference curve?
layla Reply
different levels of utilities of a person in a given set of bundles of goods
RAM
identify and quantify five social costs and social benefits of building a school
Mokgobo Reply
identify and quantity five social costs and social benefits of building a hospital
Mokgobo
short run vs long run
Jean
state the law of diminishing return?
Ibrahim
The Law of Diminishing (Marginal) Returns simply states that at some point in time a business/operation/etc.'s increased productivity will begin to decline.
The
For example, if a small pizza shop currently has 3 workers in the kitchen at any given time,and hiring 1 more worker will increase productivity, at some number of workers hired will the business see a decrease in productivity because the capital resources that the pizza shop has is not infinite.
The
Five social benefits of building a hospital, in my opinion and depending on where it's built, would be 1) Increased care for neighboring residents, 2) Potential jobs for individuals, 3) May decrease the travel time residents need to endure in order to reach the nearest hospital
The
4) May create work-study programs for individuals who aspire to be future Doctors, Nurses, Physicians, etc. 5) Assuming there are local pharmaceutical businesses nearby, the hospital may decide to purchase supplies local, increasing the business' sales. Thus, generating more income.
The
5 costs of building a hospital would be 1) Increased noise and waste pollution from service vehicles and hospital visitors, 2) May require large amounts of space, possibly jeopardizing nearby animal habitats, 3) May see an increase in traffic and possibly car accidents from frantic individuals
The
racing to see their injured friends, family members, etc. 4) Constructing a hospital and hiring staff is very expensive 5) To use funds, private or public, to finance the construction of a hospital cannot be used to fund any other projects. (The concept of opportunity costs.)
The
what is meant by inteference with the price mechanism operation?
Mugen
We use a Supply and Demand graph to illustrate at what price level will the market for a certain good or service be at equilibrium. If the price for a good or service is set too high, consumers will be less inclined to buy that product Thus, creating a surplus.
The
This surplus will eventually drive the price back down to it's equilibrium point. Similarly, if a price for a good or service is set too low, individuals would be more inclined to buy more of a certain product, creating a shortage. This shortage will cause sellers to drive the price back up to the
The
equilibrium point.
The

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask