This is an official announcement for the price of ice (yes, ice) in an Iranian newspaper nearly fifty years ago which is, of course, before the revolution of 1979.
Shah did not believe in free markets, either. He loved “his” country and wanted it to progress the way he deemed fit. His priorities, his way. He wasn’t the first to do it this way and certainly, he won’t be the last. In fact, they have a name for it, Command Economy, or in more democratic settings, to offend fewer people, Planned Economy.
Being an empire for a long time, we have been doing it for thousands of years now. It has never worked. Fifty years later, it still isn’t working. These days, we have multiple agencies with astronomical amounts of oil budget between them, trying to keep the prices down by ordering it so and punishing those who would not abide by their rules.
It is not working.
Every day, a bureaucrat is giving interviews to explain why this and that, say, vegetable price, went up despite their selfless efforts. It is somewhat fun to hear their analysis. Sometimes explaining the increase in the price of onions and tomatoes with conspiracy theories about superpowers and the west in general. Other days, they explain it by accusing people of greed and, believe it or not, invisible hands at work. (The irony seems to be lost on them. By invisible hands, they mean conspiracies.) Sometimes they sound so Pratchettian, it feels like I’m living in Ankh Morpork.
In any case, the prices don’t care about their explanations. They go wherever they wish.
Ironically, as I have reported earlier here, certain prices aren’t going up as fast. Reports show that the price of narcotics and alcoholic beverages has not increased much in the past two years. The competitive market seems to be responsible for the stability.