It appears, however, that not even an unchallenged autocrat can repeal the laws of supply and demand.So-called "advanced democracies" don't do much better. Their economic folly is just not so extreme or so widespread. Think rent control. Think minimum wage. Think gasoline price controls in times of shortages.
One month after Mr. Mugabe decreed just that, commanding merchants nationwide to counter 10,000-percent-a-year hyperinflation by slashing prices in half and more, Zimbabwe’s economy is at a halt.
Bread, sugar and cornmeal, staples of every Zimbabwean’s diet, have vanished, seized by mobs who denuded stores like locusts in wheat fields. Meat is virtually nonexistent, even for members of the middle class who have money to buy it on the black market. Gasoline is nearly unobtainable. Hospital patients are dying for lack of basic medical supplies. Power blackouts and water cutoffs are endemic.
August 2, 2007
What Price Controls Do
An eerie report from Zimbabwe.