Michel-Edouard Leclerc, the president of Leclerc stores, does not believe the figures of INSEE on inflation: he said on January 11 on RMC that "INSEE forecasts an inflation of 2.8%, I imagine it rather at 4% for 2022". This figure is more consistent with other member countries of the eurozone, whether Italy (4.2%), Germany (5.7%), Spain (6.7%), over the last twelve months according to Eurostat, which even records double-digit rates in Lithuania (10.7%) and Estonia (12%).
As explained in my book "Pouvoir d’achat : le grand mensonge (2018)" (Purchasing Power: The Big Lie), the official statistical agency minimizes price increases in essentially two ways:
- This virtually excludes real estate, which accounts for only 6% of the "consumer basket" used to calculate inflation. Why? Because the acquisition of a house is considered as an investment, it does not appear in the "consumer price index" (a spurious reasoning since the main house does not yield any profit, contrary to an investment. It even costs, and the increase in value is useless if you move to a bigger place in the same city).
- By inventing a very smoky "quality effect": your smartphone costs you more than the previous one, however, the experts-statisticians estimate that it is more powerful. Therefore, "you get more for your money" and INSEE enters a price lower than the public price in the database... This also works for fruit juices, etc., a quarter of the products in the index!
All kinds of tricks must be going on right now to give us a price increase of only 2.8% over the last twelve months! Minimizing inflation is very useful: it allows us to believe that purchasing power (wages - price increases) is increasing, or at least limits its loss, and on the other hand, it artificially inflates GDP growth (increase in nominal value - "GDP deflator", the inflation of GDP components). By the way, France has a totally delusional growth forecast of 6.7% for the year 2021 (more than double that of Germany, what a joke). That there is a catching-up effect is fine, but who can believe that the record figures of the Trente Glorieuses will be reached?
The Frenchman who shops is not really fooled by these 2.8%, he sees the bill in his wallet. He also sees how his savings are being cut back: with "real" inflation at 4% according to Michel-Edouard Leclerc (and we're being kind), his Livret A savings account loses more than 3% of its value over the year. Almost all life insurance is in the red at this rate. Preserving one's capital is going to become more and more difficult... Physical gold allows one to protect one's purchasing power over the long term, we had shown this when the book was released in 2018. There are other investments, more volatile (stocks, cryptos) and more bullish (stocks, real estate). The choice becomes more complex.
Inflation is already a destructive evil in itself, but its partial concealment reinforces its harmfulness by deceiving economic players about its real value. It is important to know that governments manipulate the money printing press, but also the measurement of the resulting price increase. Faced with this lie, the consumer-saver must rely more and more on himself.
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