How Former Federal Reserve President Paul Volcker Beat Inflation in the 1970s : Planet Money For much of the 1970s inflation was bad. Prices rose at over 10 percent a year. Nothing could stop it — until one powerful person did something very unpopular. Today's show: How we beat inflation. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

The Great Inflation (Classic)

The Great Inflation (Classic)

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Chick Harrity/AP
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker listens to a question as he appears before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., in 1980.
Chick Harrity/AP

If you follow the news, you may have been hearing a lot of talk lately about inflation. Just this week, the Department of Labor released data showing that prices have been rising at the fastest pace in nearly 13 years, and that's got some people a little worried.

A lot of younger listeners may be seeing people genuinely worried about inflation for the first time. And that's because, for the past few decades, inflation hasn't really been a huge problem.

Today on the show, we go back to that time in the 1970s when the U.S. economy was truly threatened by inflation. And we tell the story of a tall man who smoked cheap cigars and took extraordinary measures to finally defeat it.

Music: "Mellow Magic."

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