Wednesday, March 21, 2007

People's Republic of Minnesota?

What's going in my home state of Minnesota? First the Minnesota House passes legislation to ban "foreign-made American flags" from Minnesota store shelves. That's pretty well... mercantilist, xenophobic, jingoistic, scary are the words that come to mind.

Now both the House and Senate in Minnesota have introduced bills to control college textbook costs, supposedly to prevent "textbook gouging," and change the way publishers market textbooks.

The bills would require textbook publishers to sell individual books usually marketed in bundles and require them to disclose when they plan to release new editions of textbooks. The bill would also require colleges to publish textbook lists before students register for classes so they can shop around for the best prices (MP: students would select classes, maybe majors, based on the lowest textbook prices??). Bookstores would be required to adopt policies to make affordable texts available to students.

"Three other states - Connecticut, Washington and Virginia - have passed similar laws, and California is considering it," according to the Michigan Daily.

I sense some "price confusion" - Minnesota legislators apparently don't like low flag prices and want to prevent Minnesotans from buying cheap foreign-made flags, but they also don't like high textbook prices, and want to legislate textbook pricing?

1 Comments:

At 3/21/2007 10:39 AM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

MP: students would select classes, maybe majors, based on the lowest textbook prices?

I don't think so. But, I would select my lowest textbook price from the lowest-priced provider if I had the ISBN early enough. Isn't that how the free market is supposed to work? Lack of timely information is a tacit and effective form of protectionism.

 

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