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April 27, 2012



Awesome review, probably I'll read this book now (I was avoiding to do it 'till now becouse i really don't like Leitoa :)


I remember those days. We used to go to the groceries for the entire month the day my dad got paid because if you bought food every week, the prices would go up. I have vivid memories of my brothers and I pushing one of the 3-4 huge grocery carts of food that we would buy.

I also remember one of my first job, at a video rental store in 1993. At the time, inflation was about 40% a month. My boss would spread out the different and rental prices would go up 20% every two weeks. The biggest deal in the store was to pre-pay 10-30 movie rentals so that you wouldn't have to pay higher prices.

And then the real came. And the first day we had the actual currency in our hands was a bit heady. I remember my mom sent the maid to the grocery store to half a kilo of tomatoes. My dad gave her one coin, worth 25 cents. She looked at it and asked if that would be enough. My dad explained that tomatoes were 40 cents/kilo; that was more than enough for half a kilo. She might even be given some change. It was surreal to those of us who grew up in an age in which coins had no value.


I also lived in Brazil during the hyper-inflation days. I didn't really experience it like the Brazilians did because I was paid in dollars into my US bank account while teaching in an American school. We used to see clerks in the store with full time jobs doing nothing but changing prices. We tried to buy the cheaper stuff before they stamped the new price on it.

My friend bought a Ford Corcel brand new in 1981 or 82 (I can't remember) and by 1984 a tank of gas cost more than he paid for the car.

The day I bought my car I paid US$900.00 too much for it by selling my dollars in the morning instead of the afternoon because the value of the dollar went up in the afternoon. I had been waiting but got impatient - very American, but you couldn't always tell when the jumps would take place. You waited for gas to go up, or an announcement that it was going up, then everything else followed.

My now father-in-law was self employed and whenever he received money he tried to buy anything of value as fast as he could (a TV, VCR, Camera, a pallet of blue jeans), anything he could resell later. Stuff was worth way more than money.

I have many stories like this. My apartment lease was a little over US$125.00 per month at the beginning of the lease (across the road from Praia do Futuro in Fortazeza - already a good spot). By the end of the lease I was only paying about US$45.00 per month.

Brazilians have always learned to "work around" the government. That's one of the reasons I believe they're finally thriving in what is still one of the most heavily regulated economies on the planet.


Is this book translated into English? Really interested in reading about this...

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