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The Public’s – and the Media’s – Economic Understanding Remains Primitive

Here’s a letter to BBC News:


You report that the British government “is discussing plans for supermarkets to introduce a cap on the price of basic food items to help tackle the rising cost of living” (“Plans for supermarket price cap on basic food,” May 28). This scheme – which will only make matters worse by causing shortages – is both devious and cowardly. Only because the government dramatically inflated the money supply since mid-2020, while locking the economy down for long periods, are prices now rising. These rising prices, in short, are an accurate report of the government’s own reckless monetary and covid policies.

For a government that inflates the money supply while shutting down the economy now to cajole merchants into not raising prices is as dishonest and dangerous as would be a government that, when evidence begins to emerge that it’s spying on its own citizens, pleads with the news media to remain silent about the spying.

Falsifying reports not only doesn’t make the reported-on ugly reality as beautiful as the false reports suggest, it worsens reality by denying to members of the public the accurate, clear information they need to adapt as well as possible to the wretched reality.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030