I studied a BA in Economics and when, later in life, discovered photography, I thought I’d never use that profession again. But sadly, being born and living in Argentina I endured double-digit inflation for 36 years of my life, with an average annual inflation of 80% over the course of my whole life. This includes a period in late 80s and early 90s in which I survived two extreme inflationary peaks, known as hyperinflation.
I know this sudden inflation has left you in shock. As you can imagine: for an argentine 8-9% inflation is not a big deal. Our latest estimates suggest this year’s will be around 130%. Unsurprisingly, the daily conversation in Argentina gravitates to inflation everyday of our lives: from kids to seniors, at parties, on the street, at the supermarket.
There are only three ways to meet the unpaid bills of a nation. The first is taxation. The second is repudiation. The third is inflation. Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation (instead of asking for permission prior to action, politicians ask for pardon post action). It destroys savings, impedes planning, and discourages investment. That means less productivity and a lower standard of living. But for societies at a whole, the worst thing about inflation is that it can have far-reaching distribution effects. The wealthiest people are usually in a better position to engineer their finances in the face of instability and uncertainty created by inflation. Thus, the rich get richer and the masses poorer, augmenting existing income inequality at a social level.