The Return of Price Controls

In a move described by Dresdner Kleinwort as "even more predictable than

the price surge that triggered it", Russia has decided to impose

price controls on elected types of bread, cheese, milk, eggs and vegetable

oil; the fourth word of the FT article is "Soviet-style". But in fact

price controls are not solely the domain of autocratic regimes: Argentina, which

had its a vibrant

election yesterday, has been imposing them for some time.

Economists hate

price controls, and for good reason: not only do they not work in theory, they

also don’t work in practice.

But it does seem as though the global commodities boom, especially in the agricultural

sector, must shoulder most of the blame for this latest spate of price controls.

They never really went away: there was just no need for them during the Great


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