Shades of Jerry Ford and Whip Inflation Now…
Italy’s government has decided to appoint a special commissioner to try to curb price rises after inflation hit a three-and-a-half year peak in November … The ombudsman, dubbed “Mr Prices” by Italian media, will inform the industry minister of any “anomalous” or unjustified price increases and can also make proposals for legislation.
What exactly is an “unjustified” price increase? Isn’t that basically at the heart of the theory of capitalism? I set a price and either the market meets it or it doesn’t. If I can sell bananas at $500 each then shouldn’t I? I’m not saying this is a good thing but it is how we’ve designed the system.
This brings us back to the debate over “price gouging” by oil companies last year.
Just as no one can define terror, no one has any idea what price gouging is either. This fact is made plain in the GOP-sponsored House bill, which leaves it to the Federal Trade Commission “to develop a definition of price gouging.” You have to love a law that is so specific about the penalty and so vague about the crime. (and if I do say so myself the rest of that rant is pretty good … I suggest reading the whole darn thing.)
I expect Signor Prices will, in some form, be coming to the US soon.