Robert Mugabe Exerts Downward Pressure on Prices


Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe's predictable response to the soaring inflation caused by his ruinous, kleptocratic economic policies: a decree commanding lower prices. But as The New York Times observes, "not even an unchallenged autocrat can repeal the laws of supply and demand." The state-ordered bargains were snapped up by Mugabe's cronies, tipped off to which stores would be visited by price inspectors. And since farmers, manufacturers, and distributors cannot sell products at a loss indefinitely, food, gasoline, medical supplies, and other necessities have disappeared as a horrendous economic situation continues, incredibly, to get even worse. In response, Mugabe is nationalizing more and more industries, asserting that the problem is greedy businessmen. Although Mugabe's policies won't find many defenders in the U.S., they reflect the same mentality that leads American politicians to denounce (and legislate against) "price gouging" and "windfall profits."