Deepening Inflation and Social Problems
Deepening Inflation and Social Problems
  • Kim Na-hyun
  • 승인 2022.09.07 15:39
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(Photo by reporter Kim Na-hyun)
(Photo by reporter Kim Na-hyun)

  Recently, inflation has intensified with social problems emerging. According to the Consumer Price Index, prices have risen 6.3%this year compared to last year. Food and non-alcoholic beverages rose the most at 8%. This is the highest rate of increase since the 1987 currency crisis when inflation was 6.8%.
  There are various reasons for inflation. First, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine caused international oil and grain prices to rise worldwide. Second, to relieve the COVID-19 downturn, the Central Bank released money to the market as emergency relief grants. The more money is released, the higher prices go. Third, even climate change caused food prices to rise. 
  One of the problems with inflation is that the Engel Coefficient has risen. The meaning of the Engel Coefficient is the proportion of foodstuff to total household spending. Usually, lower income increases the Enel Coefficient. An increase means that domestic household life has become more complicated than before. “Grocery shopping is similar to what it used to be, but the prices are higher than before. And more than half of the expenditure goes to food,” a university student says.
  Along with the rise in foodstuffs prices, expenses for eating out have also increased. The price of Jajangmyeon, black-bean-sauce noodles, increased 22% from two years ago. The cost of Kalguksu and Naengmyeon also increased by 16%. 
Most university students feel burdened by rising prices. Almost all students are feeling inflation, primarily in food expenses. When prices rise, the first reduced consumption is related to culture and leisure. The most challenging item to reduce is transportation costs. 
  Many social phenomena are also occurring due to inflation. ‘Lunchflationʼ makes people use a convenience store lunch box instead of eating at a restaurant. It is a compound word for ‘lunchʼ and ‘inflation.ʼ As food prices rise, more and more people are buying ‘ugly fruits,ʼ a B-class crop that can be purchased much cheaper than regular fruit prices. The no-spending challenge is popular among the MZ generation. People who do the challenge make their lunch boxes to practice reducing food costs. They also reduce transportation costs by walking. Purchasing second-hand items is also increasing in popularity. YOLO is short for “You Only Live Once.” This ideology has been popular since 2018. However, inflation is changing the form of consumption from YOLO to the no-spending challenge.

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