PLAYING THE PRICE CONTROLS GAME by Mark Skousen

PLAYING THE PRICE CONTROLS GAME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chicken Little is alive, well, and worried about reimposition of controls on prices, wages, rents, interest, dividends, and corporate profits. This cautionary tract is in two parts. The first, which includes a once-over-lightly survey of programs instituted by, among others, Hammurabi, Hitler, and Nixon, argues the inevitability of controls, which can induce shortages and other economic disruptions. Having posited a restoration on evidence no more substantial than the fact that the bureaucratic apparatus still exists in the US and the possibility that public opinion could be receptive if inflationary pressures recur, Skousen in the second section offers what's labeled a practical guide to beating the system for consumers, wage-earners, landlords, investors, and businessmen. Based as it is on ifs and maybes, his advice is tentative. To illustrate: Should imports escape controls, try to buy foreign goods. In some cases, suggestions--notably, those blueprinting means to pad prices through middlemen in gray or black markets and overstate expenses to evade profit ceilings--verge on the illicit. Morality apart, Skousen's recommendation that families stock a year's supply of foodstuffs could lead to the kind of hoarding that produces the demand/push inflation he professes to be worried about. Given the ambiguous views of President-elect Carter, the subject of controls deserves a carefully considered study that this ramshackle work does not provide.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Arlington House