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Argentina Taking Pages from KGB Playbook


Being an economist is dangerous work in Argentina; too much honesty and integrity can lead to a midnight phone call from the government threatening incarceration. Orlando Ferreres, a respected economist in Buenos Aires, was the latest economist to dare tell the people that the country’s inflation index is a fat pack of lies. Naturally, reports the FT, he received a call from Guillermo Moreno, the commerce secretary:

According to Ferreres, inflation is up 23.8 per cent in the last 12 month, against INDEC’s figure of 10.6 per cent for the same period.

Ferreres could now face a prison sentence of up to two years for – according to Moreno – publishing bogus figures which would trigger a rise or fall in Argentine debt, enabling his clients to execute timely trades and earn a tidy profit.

This is business as usual for Cristina de Kirchner’s government, which would rather rip off bondholders by keeping inflation numbers artificially low than have its nose rubbed in the unholy mess it’s making of the economy. Better to round up the economists and send investors fleeing than to suffer responsibility.

At least some good comes out of investigating economists and throwing them in jail: in the future, it will help investors to identify who in Argentina is actually telling the truth.

[Image of Cristina de Kirchner courtesy of Wikimedia]

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  • ljgude

    Personally I don’t think its a bad idea to hang an economist or two, pour encourage les autres.

    • Jeff Jones

      Agreed, but stick to the ones who influence policy despite never having been right about anything in their lives.

      A Nobel door prize winning NYT economist comes to mind.

      • ljgude

        I see you have good taste in economists. 😉

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