More philosophical than technical.
Why is inflation even needed?
The reasoning behind inflation lies inside its code. Think of it as a way to recycle the data in such a way to make the ecosystem flow better. Aside from transaction fees being a security feature, the real reasoning was to be like Bitcoin, without the flaws Bitcoin has:
1) Mining is completely centralized and seeing what happened to Bitcoin with Chinese miners patenting ASIC chips in order to mass produce mining operations shows just what kind of world you live in. The way SCP is, anyone can participate without being at the mercy of miners who run monopolies.
2) Mining is a waste of energy and the Stellar platform proves just how much better of a blockchain you can have by using a fraction of the energy Bitcoin is using.
The guide that explains the inflation mechanism shows that extra lumens are recycled in a sense, and redistributed in order to keep the system afloat without causing volatile changes. Why would they need to keep the system afloat? That leads to the next question:
What's the rationale in Stellar?
Stellar's intention is to be what Bitcoin was supposed to be: an open source community that cooperates with one another and to get away from the old financial institutions that barred many from entry. The Stellar Network solves just that and much more. Also the problem with Bitcoin is its energy cost with mining, and thus its incentive to continue has limitations. This is very crucial and Stellar has thought of a workaround by adding the Stellar Consensus Protocol, trusted nodes that verify transactions, and inflation. This way this ecosystem can stay afloat for a long time, at low-cost, while still giving incentives to be part of an amazing system:
"... a distributed, hybrid blockchain that is fully open-source. It is infrastructure that exists to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value, including payments."