12.2.07

QUOTE OF THE DAY. Market Power's Phil Miller:
It's an excellent example of someone trying to fight the invisible hand and the invisible hand fighting back.
The context is a Miami Herald report on regulation-induced shortages in Venezuela.

"Shortages have increased significantly as well as violations of price controls," Central Bank director Domingo Maza Zavala told UniĆ³n Radio on Thursday. "The difference between real market prices and controlled prices is very high."

Authorities on Wednesday raided a warehouse in Caracas and seized seven tons of sugar hoarded by vendors unwilling to market the inventory at the official price.

Major private supermarkets suspended sales of beef earlier this week after one chain was shut down for 48 hours for pricing meat above government-set levels, but an agreement reached with the government on Wednesday night promises to return meat to empty refrigerator shelves.

Most items can still be found, but only by paying a hefty markup at grocery stores or on the black market. The state runs a nationwide network of subsidized food stores, but in recent months some items have become increasingly hard to find.

I suppose those vendors should consider themselves lucky not to have been shot as "running dogs of capitalism" or, that old standby, "speculation."

Somebody supply the punchline. What has 100 legs and eats cabbage?

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