Italy unleashes PR stunt to stop inflation

Shades of Jerry Ford and Whip Inflation Now

WINItaly’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.

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The latest in nutraceuticals: Anti-aging pizza

Eugenio Luigi Iorio, a nutritionist and biochemist at the University of Naples, has invented the “primula” pizza– which has three times the fiber and more magnesium and iron than a regular pizza. The pizza, created  with Cosimo Mogavero — owner of a restaurant called La Fabbrica dei Sapori (The Taste Factory) restaurant — features at least eight vegetables or sauces in the pizza allegedly create the anti-oxidant effects against ageing: tomatoes, rocket, garlic, courgettes, basil, mushrooms, carrots and spinach.

Best part of the story: Someone is protesting. A group called The True Neapolitan Pizza Association, which must exist only so reporters have someone to call on a slow news day, says the wholemeal flour that goes into the primula prevents the characteristic crust from forming. Best line of the story: “The association has complained in the past about the sale of pizza-by-the-slice.”

Now that’s something worth protesting about.

Make up your mind! Italy busts the ultra thin while the UK wants to put warning lables on “plus-sized” clothes

Why the EU will never last.

Italy’s government and its fashion chiefs issued a manifesto on Saturday to crack down on the use of ultra-thin teenagers on the catwalk, requiring models to show proof of their good health or be barred from fashion shows.

A leading professor in the U.K. said that obese people should be warned about the health risks of their weight when buying clothes, according to The Daily Mail.