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Photo Post: Covering-up Choripan Inflation

March 22nd, 2011 | Categoría: Other

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By Katia Porzecanski

There’s a great deal of irony at play in the way this business is covering up older prices to reveal its newer, higher price. Despite the government’s best efforts to cover up official signs of inflation, the kinds of covering-up vendors do tell a different story. All over Argentina we see prices scratched out and rewritten or sheets of paper or stickers covering obsolete price tags. Some restaurant owners have even resorted to printing priceless menus.

The government says prices are up 10% from a year ago, but virtually all economists find this estimate risible. They say inflation totals about 25% annually. Economists use the word inflation when talking about rising prices, but government officials, including Economy Ministry Amado Boudou and President Cristina Fernandez, refuse to do this. Instead, they talk about an “immense dispersion of prices.”

Whatever you call it, prices are up across the board, as this photo shows.

*Katia Porzecanski is an economist and writer in Buenos Aires

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15 Comments

Mr.GNo Gravatar says:

Wow!! I have not been in ARG for 6 years and the other day I was astonished when I read a “tostado” (or grilled sandwich or whatever the name in English is!) was $18. 18 pesos for a sandwich?! C’mon Man!

RonaldNo Gravatar says:

Yep, a choripan ‘to go’ went up from ar$6.- to ar$ 9.- in less than 6 months around the corner here. Am I glad we don’t have inflation in this Kountry.

John GarganNo Gravatar says:

I am not surprised, the Arg government are No1 liars! I have lived in London for the last 5 years and chatting with my Auntie in BsAs a few weeks ago she was commenting how prices for basic stuff is so high! So I asked her to tell me some prices for basics etc….. all the prices she read out where pretty much London prices! It’s an absolute joke! I also spoke to my cousin who lived in Sydney, Australia for a few years and she is back in BsAs and she said it’s as expensive as or more expensive than Australia (and the prices in Australia have risen immensely in the last 5 years since I left!) The Argentinean politicians and economists couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery! Hace falta sacarlos a TODOS, they are all the same old school chums from when Carlos Menem was in power, all selfish crooks! TODO LA MISMA MIERDA!

Dave JNo Gravatar says:

The common theme here is that Argentina is as expensive as any where in Europe or North America. Only the subsized gas and electricity remain cheap and this is leading the country to ruin. On Bloomburg last night I saw an investment banker last night advising people to invest in Mexico. She used the old “cost of a Big Mac” analogy to show that Brazil is now way overpriced. A Big mac there was $5 US, $4 in New York and $3 in Mexico City. The question is “What does a Big Mac cost in Bs. As.”?

John GarganNo Gravatar says:

Dave J, good point! The Big Mac index as they call it. Regardless though, the fact remains that Argentina would be an economic powerhouse in South America, considering all it’s natural resources (many untapped!) IF only they could manage the economy etc, but as I said previous, the Argentinean politicians and economists couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery!

JULIANNo Gravatar says:

Here’s your answer: a Big Mc in AG is about u$s 4.99…Same as BZ so I guess for that banker we’re the last Kountry to invest in!

Emily HNo Gravatar says:

I think this article makes a really good point – and when the inflation is looked at from the perspective of Argentines, the situation becomes even more severe. While many prices have risen to the levels in North American or Europe, Argentine salaries have not come close. When viewed as a percentage of income, these prices become truly unmanageable, fueling increasing credit card debt among consumers. The government really does try to cover up the real inflation numbers, but as this article points out, its impossible to cover up the stickers, scratched out prices, and menus without prices.

RyanNo Gravatar says:

I went back to Mr. Sandwich on Piedras & Belgrano after maybe nine months, and my 13 peso chicken sandwich now costs 21 pesos! Almost double!

haroldoNo Gravatar says:

..I wouldn’t mind paying London prices here (BA) if the variety and quality were the same. They are not.

John GarganNo Gravatar says:

Haroldo, the good food in London (organic, free range stuff) is still expensive! Everything is going up here too, petrol, food prices, housing etc… obviously not nearly as high as Argentina which is circa 30% inflation!….. be rest assured that all is not rosy in the UK! You have to earn good money to be making a difference here, it’s very expensive compared to Sydney for example (even though I have been told prices have gone up significantly there too)

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

I paid $10 yesterday. Damn inflation. At least it was good.

Mandrake says:

The tostado sandwich is also called ” CARLITOS” Do not ask me why.
I was just thinking about Jerry Lewis, asking for hot water and nada mas-
He brought his tea bag and a sandwich from home….jajajaaaa

fredNo Gravatar says:

the highly regarded economist says the government of argentina is cooking the books:
http://www.economist.com/node/18014576?story_id=18014576

Joan says:

In July 2010 a one way ticket to Lincoln outside Buenos Aires (about 5 hrs by bus) was $74 pesos. As of Feb 2011 same ticket is $119 up 60% in just 6 months.

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