David Pilling writes in today’s FT that China is addressing inflation by “banning” it:
This month, Unilever agreed to pay a fine of $300,000 after China’s National Development and Reform Commission accused the Anglo-Dutch company of creating panic by announcing its intention to increase detergent and soap prices.
In effect, China has suppressed Unilever’s right to express itself freely through prices.
Unilever execs shouldn’t be surprised. Unilever was the marquee sponsor of an exhibit earlier this year at the Tate Modern art museum in London. The artist who created this exhibit was Ai Wei Wei, a Chinese national known for his increasingly biting criticism of the Chinese government. The Chinese government has since arrested Ai, suppressing his right to free expression, too.
Rather than importing freedom, China is exporting — through distortion of supply and demand that affects global markets — Nixon-style price controls.
— Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.