Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our Socialist Ways

Today the Sri Lankan government announced price controls on rice. From the Daily Mirror:

The government in a move to control the escalating prices of locally produced rice imposed maximum wholesale and retail prices from midnight yesterday. A gazette notification to this effect was issued last night.

According to the new government regulations, the retail price of Samba rice will be Rs 70 per kilo while the wholesale price will be Rs 63. Prices have been fixed for Nadu, Rathu Kekulu and Sudu Kekulu rice as well.

Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardene told a news conference last night that this decision was taken to resolve the current crisis in the marketing of rice and to control the sky rocketing prices. He said this was the first time in the country’s history that price control had been imposed on rice.

[..]The minister said that those who sell above the specified rates and those who hide stocks would be severely dealt with under the Consumer Protection Act. [link]

This is coming from the supposedly pro-market minister of trade and consumer affairs, Bandula Gunawardene who previously warned that he would introduced legislation which could bark and bite solve the problem of cost of living. With pro-marketers like this, who need socialists?

No, I'm not saying we are on the road to serfdom just yet, but like I've said before, we still have this socialist mentality which assumes we can centrally plan the economy. It's one thing allow the market to flourish and introduce regulation where you think it's inefficient (I would argue against it, but at least that's tolerable), it's quite another to believe that a government bureaucrat knows the accurate price of something.

No comments: