《Basic Economics》的笔记-The Politics of Price Controls
- 章节名：The Politics of Price Controls
- 2013-04-20 15:33:08
Halfway around the world, in eighteenth-century India, a local famine in Bengal brought a government crackdown on food dealers and speculators, imposing price controls on rice. Here the resulting shortages led to widespread deaths by starvation. However, when another famine struck India in the nineteenth century, now under the colonial rule of British officials and during the heyday of free market economics, opposite policies were followed, with opposite results:In the earlier famine one could hardly engage in the grain trade without becoming amenable to the law. In 1866 respectable men in vast numbers went into the trade; for the Government, by publishing weekly returns of the rates in every district, rendered the traffic both easy and safe. Everyone knew where to buy grain cheapest and where to sell it dearest and food was accordingly bought from the districts which could best spare it and carried to those which most urgently needed it.As elementary as all this may seem, in terms of economic principles, it was made possible politically only because the British colonial government was not accountable to local public opinion. In an era of democratic politics, the same actions would require either a public familiar with basic economics or political leaders willing to risk their careers to do what needed to be done. It is hard to know which is less likely.
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