When I lived in Argentina in the mid 1990s, most of our friends still acutely remembered the hyperinflation from less than a decade before. They told stories of grocery shopping and hearing, announced over the loudspeaker, that the prices on everything in the store just went up 10 percent. Such memories are poignant—how could they forget?
Inflation in Argentina today isn’t that bad. At least not yet. But it’s getting there. Private accounts of inflation estimate it’s around 25 percent, though the government’s statistics agencies reports hover around less than half the unofficial reports. Don’t be fooled—the discrepancy is more likely due to the government’s attempt to whitewash the public into relaxing. They’ve even gone as far as trying to prevent anyone who isn’t a government official from publishing a inflation figure that doesn’t line up with the official statistic. No one is fooled though and the International Monetary Fund has even threatened Argentina over publishing such poor data.
Argentines have memories long enough to remember the both bouts of hyperinflation in the 1980s, their country’s economic collapse in 2001-02 and the mass unemployment that followed. They also remember 1989, when the government seized bank certificates of deposit in exchange for bonds and 2002, when they automatically converted dollar deposits to pesos.