Money plays such an important role in our lives that most of us could not imagine surviving without it. Yet that is exactly what you need to do if you want to prepare for an economic condition called deflation.
Deflation is the term economists use to describe a “general decline in prices, often caused by a reduction in the supply of money or credit.”A good way to think of deflation is as the opposite of inflation. Inflation occurs when there is too much money in circulation, which destroys its value and raises prices. When deflation occurs, there is too little money available, which often causes prices to collapse and the economy to shut down.
In severe cases of deflation there can be no money available at all not — even at the banks. This nightmare actually occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when there were places in the United States where there was no cash available at all. More recently, it has happened in Greece, where ATMs ran out of cash and where banks placed limits on the amount of money that could be withdrawn.
People had no money to pay bills or buy food for their families. Employers had no money to pay employees, customers had no money to buy goods, and many people were reduced to bartering to survive. During the Great Depression, farmers would pay professionals such as mechanics and doctors with food because they had no money and no credit.