One of his first acts in office would be to pass emergency legislation forbidding energy companies from increasing domestic prices, the leader told his party conference.
Price controls have always been so damn effective, haven’t they?
I’m entirely used to the idea that there are places in the world where they don’t have bog roll: there’s plenty of places poor enough that you have to make do with a handful of sand. I’m also used to the idea that there’s places rich enough to have wondrous phone networks with mobile internet and local developers creating apps. I’m just very surprised that there’s a part of the world that seems to have the apps and not the paper.
There are two conflicting stories here about why this shortage is happening. There’s the president, Nicolas Maduro, insisting that it’s all a result of the capitalists hoarding the stuff to make him look bad. Indeed, last week, the state media trumpeted the fact that specialist investigators had uncovered a cache of 2,500 rolls of the stuff.
Then there’s the economists, who are saying that because the State has fixed the price so low, no one is willing to either make or import the stuff at a loss. Believe who you will there, although I’m going with the idea that capitalist revolutionaries would be causing a bit more damage than just sticky arses.
As that froth-mouthed free marketeer, though, there’s an important underlying point. Even I don’t think that the free market unadorned always works in quite the way we’d want it to. I’m quite happy to agree that there are times when markets fail, when they’re absent, or where they’re very misleading indeed (say, over the incentives to pollute, externalities and all that). But on the flip side, I’d also insist that there are indeed times when those free markets, pure and unadorned, do indeed work just fine. Like in keeping the basics of modern life, the flour, cooking oil and loo roll that this app tracks through crowdsourced knowledge, on the shelves.
It might even be that some people in that country are too poor to pay the prices demanded for that available toilet paper. To which the answer is give them more money to purchase it, don’t screw up a functioning market by freezing the price so that no one can get it.
If your price controls lead to the price charged being below the free market price then there will be a shortage of whatever the good or service is having its price controlled. And if your price control is above the free market price then what’s the fucking point?
This is just arse dribble from the Miliboy. The only important question is whether he just thinks we’re stupid enough to fall for it or whether he’s actually stupid enough to have fallen for it.