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Sunday, February 23, 2014

You think YOU have inflation?


In the early 1980s, inflation under the then-military regime was running at about 10,000 percent a year. We would run down to the casa de cambios with our checks and change them as early in the day as possible, because they'd be worth significantly less by the end of the day. It was not uncommon to walk out of the change house with a brown paper shopping bag filled with bills like the one in the picture, rolled up in hundreds and bound with rubber bands. Those were the days.

I found one of those bills at home before coming to Bolivia this time. I haven't tried to use it, and won't. I'm I'd be arrested for trying to pass false currency. Today, the Boliviano is stable and has been for years, valued at about 7 to the dollar. One still walks around sometimes with hundreds of "pesos Bolivianos" in one's pocket, but you don't need to wheelbarrow to carry your rent to the landlord anymore.

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