- Paperback: 192 pages
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00268ZR48
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,887,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls
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Top Customer Reviews
The history portion covers antiquity to modern times, in Asia, Africa, Europe,
and the Americas, in democracies, monarchys, and dictatorships of the left and
right, from gentle, moral persuassion through "jawboning" to long prison
sentences and long lists of death sentences.
They claim controls have never worked, always cause additional social damage,
such as shortages and crime, and often make inflation worse. I know of no
counterexample of their claim.
Washington's terrible winter at Valley Forge was caused by the price controls
imposed by the Continental Congress. The Allies retained the Nazi controls
after WWII. Goering, from prison in 1946, wondered why. He could not make
it work. Why would we repeat his mistake. The German economic miracle started
almost immediately after controls were ended.
Other controllers also admitted their attempts failed. I wish the authors
had collected opinions from all controllers, admitting failure or offering
excuses. They could not, of course, because there were so many, all diverted
from doing something that might have been useful.
There is an extensive bibliography, a useful index, and chapter notes
documenting the claims in the main text. They even include a translation
of the price fixing portions of the Code of Hammurabi.
The sermon at the end is less satisfying.Read more ›
"For the past forty six centuries ( at least ) governments all over the world have tried to fix wages and prices from time to time."
Why do they do it?
How do they do it?
How does it work?
How do the people react?
How does it fail.?
Why don't they learn?
What the book lacks is a deeper review of the ways used to apply the controls and how exactly it under performed to solve the problems. In some cases it is due the lack of information from very old scenarios and in other cases I think the authors tried to keep it simple enough to be readable.
The book is old and if you are looking for recent information, you won't find it.
In general, a very interesting and insightful book about a topic not yet understood by a lot of people and governments (e.g. Argentina)
If you're interested in econ, this is a great topic, pretty easy read, well worth the time and money.
The normal result of controlling prices is products leave the market. Controlling wages causes people to leave the market. In some remarkable examples, especially during the Roman Empire and the Diocletian Reforms, the price of critical commodities were pegged below the market and those items just disappeared. In the case of wheat the farmers left the land. It got so bad that the government ordered people to stay on the land and grow the crops on pain of death. The prices were so low and the taxes so high the farmers were starving. Thus, the wage and price control plan failed miserably.
Governments also try to control inflation; however, argues the author, inflation is always caused by an excess of money – which is debatable. Cheapening the money by increasing its supply only works for awhile because the inflation it creates eventually destroys the economy. Mr. Schuettinger cites, naturally, the great German inflation of the 1920s.
The book also tackles the problems of controlling the economy in war; however, the arguments here are less effective. War is so different from a “normal” economy. In wars the government buys items and then destroys them in combat. It also takes large numbers of people out of the economy (soldiers) reducing their consumer buying activities.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent history of one of the most common ways governments and "leaders" damage our economy and society.Published 21 days ago by Gary E. Hoover
This is a great book, because it give the history of price and wage controls for different times and countries. Good resource for failed government policies.Published 11 months ago by S. Vorhauer
Should be read by all those government groupies who think that somehow Pice and Wage controls work.Published 13 months ago by Dale L. Netherton
Very detailed book about how wage and price controls would never work.Published 17 months ago by Julio Cezar Oliveira