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Author Archives: mcoats

Most words in the English language have multiple meanings.  Early in my courses I point out how using a word one way and then another in the same line of reasoning can lead to faulty conclusions.  Orwell’s idea of doublethink in his novel, 1984, gave birth to a related idea, doublespeak, political speech, where words […]

For at least four thousand years (see the blog post by Tom DiLorenzo), political leaders in monarchies and democracies alike have instituted price ceilings.  The results have always been the same: chronic shortages.  Anyone who has read my posts here, especially my recent posts, have found me lamenting both the pharmaceutical shortages in the US […]

As some of my students are about to take exams covering the minimum wage, among other topics, I thought I would point them to some old, but still relevant columns I wrote in the late 1990s on the topic. Why the minimum wage should not be increased (1998) Minimum-wage increases and high school dropout rates […]

The shortages in Venezuela, as I have discussed in previous posts, are due to price ceilings which suppress the quantity offered on the market while encouraging extra consumption. Low prices also encourage exports of those price controlled items and discourage imports.  As a result, people in Venezuela are continuously frustrated in their basic attempts to buy […]

Here is another news story on the problem of price controls, rationing and what economists call “transactions costs,” this time from the U.K.’s “The Guardian.” In a recent post, I linked to an A.P. story on the food shortages in Venezuela, where it was noted that shoppers would wait from morning to late afternoon for one grocery […]

In my blog posts here, I usually provide links to news articles concerning the topic at hand.  Not this time.  Instead, I will just suggest that reader search news.google.com for water shortages.  What should be noted is that there is no shortage of news articles on water shortages.  Articles on climate change and business location […]

It looks like the grocery and basic goods shortage hitting Venezuela has gone to the next obvious step, rationing cards and blaming the rich for hoarding–and arbitrage with Colombia.  A regular reader of this blog will note that I have pointed out the troubles in Venezuela and their price controls on many other occasions.  for […]

In my previous post, “Smuggling cigarettes into New York,” I pointed out how higher cigarette taxes push people to buying their cigarettes elsewhere.  Increases in cigarette taxes in New York was estimated to cause huge increases in cigarettes smuggled into New York.  In New York and California, as well as in France, high tax rates […]

On CBS’s Money Watch, Jonather Berr reports here that cigarette smuggling in New York is the highest in the country, with over half (estimated to be 56.9%) of cigarettes sold in the state are illegally smuggled there, according to this report by the Tax Foundation.  The Tax Foundation report is based on a study by […]

The news agency, AFP, reports here on protests staged by doctors and medical students over the shortages of various medicines and critical supplies in hospitals in the oil-rich South American country of Venezuela. If you search through Bastiat’s Bastions you will find that I have mentioned Venezuela’s shortage-plagued economy several times, such as here, here and here.  Chad Turner, a former […]

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