Shopping at cheaper grocery stores is one way many are trying to stave off the effects of inflation (Getty Images/Katrina Wittkamp)
We all know what it means and anyone following current events knows we’re seeing significant increases in the cost of pretty much everything. In May 2022, Canadian consumer prices rose 7.7 per cent year over year.
What does inflation mean for you? Are you switching to a cheaper grocery store? Driving your car less and taking public transit more? Planning staycations instead of travel? Limiting eating out to only on special occasions?
If these are your kind of coping strategies, consider yourself fortunate.
Because there are many for whom such strategies are meaningless. Those who earn less have less and, for them, this kind of frugality is already second nature. For them, inflation isn’t about substitution. It’s about sacrifice on top of sacrifice. There’s a hidden hierarchy of inflation fallout and we all have a place in it.
Recognizing that those who are less fortunate feel the squeeze of inflation in a whole other way can offer a new perspective on these tough times. It supports the necessity of pathways for those in need to get the assistance they require to stay on their feet, as well as policies that support long-term well-being and inclusion for all.
While many economists believe that inflationary forces will subside over the next year, the current inflationary surge draws attention to the needs of those most deeply affected. Is it time to consider profound policy initiatives, such as guaranteed basic income, that address both immediate need and long-term social outcomes?
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