Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Argentina: A Deadly Mix of Totalitarian Thuggery and Business Cowardice

This weekend's Wall Street Journal published an article by Taos Turner on price inflation in Argentina. What I take away is that the country is in a state of internal warfare.

The Pertinent Fact:

According to the article, Argentina's public is now confronted with 30 percent annual price inflation.

The Cause and Cure, according to Argentina's Ruling Class of Thugs:

Friends of Cristina Kirchner have created propaganda posters accusing CEOs of large retailers of gouging the public. The gaudy creations now paper the walls of large cities. The caption reads: "THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ROBBING YOUR SALARY." Below an unflattering photo and the CEO's name and company is written: "They are increasing the price of everything to take your money." (The modern equivalent of Wanted-Dead-or-Alive posters?)

Elsewhere, individual consumers are encouraged to report any "unfair pricing" through an 800 number or via a government-provided app on smartphones. (Sounds powerful and scary, but I am curious to know who will do what with the information.)

Kirchner's cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich, denies that macroeconomics have anything to do with Argentina's price inflation. He states that all the economists blaming the government's economic policies are prejudiced. He is sure of this, he declares, because he knows all of them and "[t]hey are all undercover agents." (For whom, he doesn't say.)

The Asininely Feeble Response of Retailers:

"In January, retailers agreed to freeze prices on about 200 products ranging from detergent to condoms."

[Audible gasp.]

That's it? No riposte? No counterargument? Not even the slightest attempt at self defense? Just a whimper and capitulation? I can here them now in their boardrooms: "Let's give them cheap condoms, that should do it."

No wonder totalitarians win. Their enemies are weak and short-sighted, and they cave in at the first boo.

[Thanks to for the image.]

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