The Sage of Ely has decided to favour us with his ideas about how to entirely screw up the global economy in these times of the coronavirus.
The first of these suggestions is that price controls must be introduced: it must be illegal for anyone to sell any products during the rest of 2020 at a price more than 10% higher than that at which it was available for sale on 29th February this year.
Brent Crude was $50 on that date, thereabouts. So, the global oil price must not rise about $55 at any point this year? Gold was at $1570. So that price rise to $1670 was already verging on the illegal? If the stock market climbs above FTSE100 (admittedly, a little unlikely) then all transactions are illegal?
Yes, you’re right, man’s an idiot.
His response will be but, but, I didn’t mean those things, I meant products. You know, products. To which the response is – what’s a product when it’s at home then? In a detailed enough definition to stand up in a court of law?
Plus, of course, if things become in short supply because no one’s making them then we want prices to rise. So as to reduce demand – hey, use both sides of that toilet paper! – and increase supply.
The justification for this price fixing is:
The risk that there will be shortages giving rise to blackmarket operations, or of straightforward commercial abuse, during the course of the next few months is high. For precisely that reason price controls are necessary with the penalty being the forfeiture of the entire revenue generated by the person breaching this requirement plus a fine of 50% on top of that.
If we don’t have price fixing then it’s not possible for there to be black market operations, is it?
In addition, we are going to require rationing. There is no point pretending otherwise: some goods will, if they are not rationed be unavailable to those who need them, and that has to be wrong. Supermarket attempts at managing supply are already failing: pasta and other products have completely disappeared from shelves, and limiting bags of pasta to five per customer is very clearly an inadequate way of managing demand.
And now the stupidity redoubles. We already have a rationing method – it’s called the price system. And if we don’t fix prices then we don’t need the rationing.
Given that the vast majority of food sales go through the major supermarkets, and the vast majority of customers are habitual in their buying patterns, as well as the outlet that they use, then the easiest way to impose rationing is through the loyalty card schemes that these stores use. For anyone who does not have such a card at present, they can be supplied. Thereafter, controlling the number of items that anyone may buy will be relatively straightforward: purchasing will be impossible without such a card, and rationing will be imposed by it. I am sure that there are some minor technical problems that will need to be overcome,
Gee, ya think? I, for example, have several different cards fro different shops. Even, a few different accounts from the same shop. I get multiple rations, do I? Lucky me. And lucky anyone else who spots this and signs up for new cards, eh?
And the idea that we’re going to impose a rationing system in the next few days is simply absurd in the first place.
Seriously, how did anyone this deluded ever get employed by a British university?