World Citizen: Argentina Tries Delusion to Fight Inflation

World Citizen: Argentina Tries Delusion to Fight Inflation

A century ago, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries. Since then, Buenos Aires has given the world a primer on how to derail, disrupt and mismanage economic growth, with successive governments finding new and creative ways to stop prosperity in its tracks. Now President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is adding a page to the nation's playbook, and this time, the main theme is deliberate denial of reality. With the specter of inflation threatening to overheat and burn Argentina's economic recovery, Fernandez enacted a most peculiar strategy to combat the problem: denying there is one.

In recent years, the administrations of Fernandez and her deceased husband and predecessor, former President Néstor Kirchner, have gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the steep rise in prices. The most troubling of all their moves came just a few days ago, when the government filed criminal charges against economists whose work shows the true magnitude of inflation in Argentina.

The government stands by its official inflation figures, including a total of 9.7 percent for 2010. But private economists agree the real number is closer to 25 percent, giving Argentina what is by some counts the second-highest inflation rate in the world, behind Venezuela.

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