If you outlaw trade, only outlaws will trade

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Without realizing it, what Chávez is doing is tacking a risk premium onto the price of basic staples. Just as cocaine is relatively expensive because selling it can land you in jail (and rational dealers therefore demand extra payment to compensate them for the extra risk), meat in Caracas is going to end up commanding a risk premium for exactly the same reason.

Risk-averse butchers are going to exit the market, and the only carniceros left are going to be exactly the kinds of butchers willing to shoulder added risk in return for added rewards. 

Most 8-year-olds can grasp that concept if you explain it to them carefully; our country is run by a man who cannot.

 

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