Thursday, February 08, 2007

Price Controls = Empty Shelves in Venezuela

"Meat cuts vanished from Venezuelan supermarkets this week, leaving only unsavory bits like chicken feet, and many staples sell far above government-fixed prices.

President Hugo Chavez's administration blames the food supply problems on unscrupulous speculators, but industry officials say government price controls that strangle profits are responsible. 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.

Chavez began regulating prices in 2003 for 400 basic products as a way to counter inflation. Government officials dismiss any problems with price controls, while state TV has begun running tickers urging the public to "denounce the hoarders and speculators" through a toll-free phone number."

more here; thanks to Cafe Hayek.

MP: Didn't Venezuela learn anything about the painful lessons of price controls in the Soviet Union for decade after decade, and the resulting shortages those price controls caused?


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