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8/21/08

Peru evolves from Banana Republic to Flambeéd Banana Republic

In the neatest bit of Bistromatics* seen in Latin America so far this year, Peru's new finance minister, Luis Valdivieso, showed once and for all that the so-called fundamental structural changes so lauded by the international community are just so much bull. However much the country might grow, the people who run the shop will eventually drag it down to its historic banana republic status (though perhaps due to the application of Bistromatics we might be generous and serve the bananas as exotically flambéed these days).

In the course of his presentation today, Minister Valdivieso managed to say that:
  • Public spending is too high.
  • There are no plans to reduce public spending, as Peru needs to build its infrastructure.
  • The same public spending is inflationary.
  • Inflation, currently running at 5.7% in Lima+Metro (or 9.25% nationally) will finish the year at 5.8%.
  • In other words, although public spending is pushing inflation and although that spending will not be cut, there will be just 0.1% of aggregate inflation in the last five months of 2008.
  • Not only that, but according to this joker inflation will drop to 3.5% in 2009.
  • And to cap it all, because there is no inflation, there will be no pay rises in the public sector. Neither will there be a rise in the minimum wage (currently U$190 per month). Not needed, you see.
The funniest thing is that El Comercio and other supposedly 'serious' newspapers in Peru will tomorrow run their own "how clever we are to be sensible about things" story to cover this total balderdash. These guys make Dubya look good at sums, I'm telling you.

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*Bistromatics was created by Douglas Adams in the "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" series. For those unacquainted with this important mathematical theory, here is the definition of the term:

The Bistromatics Drive is a wonderful new method of crossing vast interstellar distances without all that dangerous mucking about with Improbability Factors. Bistromatics Itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behaviour of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that time was not an absolute but depended on the observer’s movement in space, and that space was not an absolute but depended on the observer’s movement in time, so it is now realized that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer’s movement in restaurants.

The first nonabsolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.

The second nonabsolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of the most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words the given time of arrival is the one moment in time at which is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Reciproverexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of maths, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else’s Problem field.

The third and most mysterious piece of nonabsoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the check, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for.

Numbers written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the Universe….