Monday, July 11, 2011

Censorship as Price Controls

The problem of inflation has usually been met by policy responses of price controls. This basically signifies deflection of culpability from government policies to the private sector.

But when reality becomes too hard to contain, the next step would be for government to impose censorship on media so as not to upset the political environment.

Argentina seems to be applying this recourse.

Reports the Wall Street Journal, (hat tip: Douglas French of Mises Blog)

Argentina's government has filed criminal charges against the managers of an economic consulting firm, escalating its persecution of independent economists.

A federal court official said Friday that a judge is evaluating the charges but has yet to decide if it is appropriate to begin investigating them.

The government is charging MyS Consultores with "publishing false information about inflation data" to benefit themselves and their clients. The criminal complaint alleges that MyS's data also lead to speculative behavior in Argentina's bond market.

MyS Managing Partner Rodolfo Santangelo described the charges as "ridiculous" and said the firm's inflation data do not affect financial markets.

Consumer prices rose 9.7% in May from a year ago, according to the national statistics agency, Indec. But virtually all economists say annual inflation surpasses 20%—one of the world's highest rates—angering government officials who dismiss inflation as a problem.

It won’t be long when such machination will be applied elsewhere including the Philippines.

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