Anybody living in Buenos Aires has been accompanied all their lives by an omnipresent government agency that tells us how much our money is worth. Since as far back as I can remember, the INDEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos) was maligned, hated and mistrusted every time it delivered its monthly inflation figures. Except during the exceptional and artificial “zero inflation” period during the 90′s, it was customary to say that the INDEC was lying, that everybody knew inflation was much higher, and so on.
But when we get to the current situation, in which the INDEC says the inflation in 2012 was 10,8% and the private estimates published by Congress point to 25,6%, something much more serious is happening. We are pulled between believing an official statistic that is impossible to take seriously and another one that “feels” closer to reality for anyone buying things and services in the real world.
But is this really the case – a choice between two similar options? Or is it more about the state manipulating an obvious reality to fit its own interests – (shouldn’t they be the same as ours)? We Argentines are so used to suffering and fighting inflation that we have become experts. We cannot be lied to, just as if we were told the temperature is 20 degrees when it is really 30 degrees.
The nagging fear is that if the state can get away with lying in something that is so obvious, could it not be doing the same in other areas? What is reality – our “real” reality or the state’s “forced” reality?