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As countries around the world try to deal with rising prices, perhaps no major economy knows how to deal with inflation better than Argentina.

The country has struggled with rapidly rising prices for most of the past 50 years. During a tumultuous period in the late 1980s, when inflation hit an almost unbelievable 3,000 percent, residents rushed to stock up on groceries before clerks with price guns arrived. Now high inflation is back, exceeding 30% every year since 2018.

To see how Argentines are coping, we spent two weeks in and around Buenos Aires with economists, politicians, farmers, restaurateurs, real estate agents, hairdressers, taxi drivers, Money changers, street performers, street vendors and the unemployed talk.

The economy isn’t always the best starter, but in Argentina, it gets pretty much everyone alive, eliciting curses, deep sighs, and informed opinions on monetary policy. One woman gleefully shows off her hideout in exchange for a wad of dollars (an old ski jacket), another explains how she stuffed cash into her bra to buy an apartment, and a Venezuelan waitress wondered if she immigrated to the right country.

One thing has become very clear: Argentines have developed a very unusual relationship with their money.

They spend pesos as soon as they get them. They buy everything from TVs to potato peelers in installments. They don’t trust banks. They hardly use credit. After years of constant price hikes, they hardly know how much they should spend.

Argentina has shown that people will find a way to adjust to years of high inflation, living in an economy hardly understood anywhere else in the world. Life is especially manageable for those who have the skills to make an inverted system work. But all these high-profile workarounds mean that those in power amid years of economic woes rarely find themselves paying the real price.



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