Friday, April 24, 2009

An Idea as Old as the Hills .... of Rome (Athens) ....

Some days it seems like certain ideas rather than being relegated to the scrap heap of history to be destroyed for ever are instead plucked from the heap and recycled without modification. Price controls are one of them. I found while browsing Google Books, several interesting volumes on the history of price controls.
The earliest citations are for Imperial Rome, under Diocletian, and an earlier version during one or another of the wars of Greek history. Price controls seem to have some constant features:
  1. The price of some commodity, usually but not always a staple grain begins to rise.
  2. As the price increase pinches more people, and pinches harder, our ever alert Politicians seek to curry favor from the populace.
After some head scratching they usually come up with some variation on - our core constituency is being adversely affected by the increasing cost of X.

Posted in honor of the Punitive Tariff imposed on Chinese steel.

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