27.2.04

THE BASIC BEHAVIOR OF REGULATORY COMMISSIONS.

Jonah Goldberg has some historical information on the regulation of the price of bread in France, pour le interest du publique (sorry, my language training is in German and my background is Prussian, I'm simply attempting to be correct) that provides some background on the notorious "eat cake" remark attributed (incorrectly) to Queen Marie Antoinette. It transpires that the public interest required bakers to sell expensive breads to consumers at cheap bread prices if a customer came in requesting cheap bread and the cheap bread was sold out. Apparently (Mr Goldberg's essay is not clear on this point) the price of the cheap bread was also subject to control. The situation in pre-revolutionary France may, however, have been less confused than the situation in post-revolutionary Russia, where controls on the price of bread provided an incentive for herders to buy bread at the controlled price, rather than grain at the supported price, to use as feed for cattle and swine.

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