In ordinary usage, price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for goods or services.
In modern economies, prices are generally expressed in units of some form of currency. (For commodities, they are expressed as currency per unit weight of the commodity, e.g. euros per kilogram.) Although prices could be quoted as quantities of other goods or services this sort of barter exchange is rarely seen. Prices are sometimes quoted in terms of vouchers such as trading stamps and air miles. In some circumstances, cigarettes have been used as currency, for example in prisons, in times of hyperinflation, and in some places during World War 2. In the black economy, barter is also relatively common.
In many financial transactions, it is customary to quote prices in other ways. The most obvious example is in pricing a loan, when the cost will be expressed as the percentage rate of interest. The total amount of interest payable depends upon the loan amount and the period of the loan. Other examples can be found in pricing financial derivatives and other financial assets. For instance the price of inflation-linked government securities in several countries is quoted as the actual price divided by a factor representing inflation since the security was issued.
Price sometimes refers to the quantity of payment requested by a seller of goods or services, rather than the eventual payment amount. This requested amount is often called the asking price or selling price, while the actual payment may be called the transaction price or traded price. Likewise, the bid price or buying price is the quantity of payment offered by a buyer of goods or services, although this meaning is more common in asset or financial markets than in consumer markets.
Economists sometimes define price more generally as the ratio of the quantities of goods that are exchanged for each other.
Famous quotes containing the word price:
“Who makes ends meet, whos taking the knock,
Government tariffs, wages, price of stock.
Smoke hangs under the light.”
—Philip Larkin (19221986)
“... work is only part of a mans life; play, family, church, individual and group contacts, educational opportunities, the intelligent exercise of citizenship, all play a part in a well-rounded life. Workers are men and women with potentialities for mental and spiritual development as well as for physical health. We are paying the price today of having too long sidestepped all that this means to the mental, moral, and spiritual health of our nation.”
—Mary Barnett Gilson (1877?)
“I would rather have as my patron a host of anonymous citizens digging into their own pockets for the price of a book or a magazine than a small body of enlightened and responsible men administering public funds. I would rather chance my personal vision of truth striking home here and there in the chaos of publication that exists than attempt to filter it through a few sets of official, honorably public-spirited scruples.”
—John Updike (b. 1932)