How inflation works and how to stop it, lessons from Brazil : Planet Money : Planet Money Summer School Inflation can be one of the scariest forces in the economy. As prices rise and your dollar doesn't go as far, you feel poorer, and it's all out of your control. To better understand inflation, we turn to the story of Brazil, where, in the 90s, hyperinflation threatened to derail the whole economy until the country turned to a group of unlikely heroes: four drinking buddies. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.

Summer School 4: Inflation & Drinking Buddies

Summer School 4: Inflation & Drinking Buddies

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James Yang/James Yang
Illustration by James Yang
James Yang/James Yang

Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.

Inflation can be one of the scariest forces in the economy: Prices rising all around you, decisions grow more confusing, your dollar doesn't go as far, you feel poorer, and it's all out of your control.

We got you.

Inflation is when there is too much money in an economy chasing too free goods and services, and it drives up prices in general. Inflation also undermines our collective confidence in the economy as a whole. When the value of our money is uncertain, it makes our behavior just as uncertain.

For this week's class, we travel to a time and a place where we can see how inflation works crystal clear. We also get to watch what didn't work to stop it, and what eventually did with lessons for today. We go to Brazil, where a decade long bout of hyperinflation threatened to derail one of the largest economies in the world. In their time of great need, the country turned to a band of unlikely heroes: four drinking buddies.

We Cover:

  • Inflation and hyperinflation 
  • Money printing/money supply
  • Wage-Price Spiral

Econ songs of summer: Every week, we pick a few of our favorites and add them to our playlist. Recommend your favorite on social media. Make sure to use #PMSummerschool.

At Planet Money Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class. Check out this week's PM Tik Tok!

Music: Lost Situation, Surf School Dropout, Sorry I Kept You, The Funk Yard, Chilled Psychedelia & A Me Mi Place II Mare

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