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Price Controls Make A Statement About Society


Economics has a reputation for being a “dismal science” in part because it highlights the ways in which various utopian schemes are impractical or impossible (Sandra Peart and David Levy point out that it’s also because some of the early classical economists made “radical claims about the equality of all men,” but that’s not my focus here). The last refuge of the interventionist defeated at every turn by the laws of supply and demand is to say that while his or her program might have unintended consequences, it “makes a statement about the kind of society we live in.”

Interventions make statements, to be sure, but they aren’t statements to be proud of. In the case of various forms of interference with the market–minimum wages, redistribution, price controls, immigration restrictions, and so on—the messages are unmistakable and unflattering.

Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, and Assistant Professor of Economics at Samford University.
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