mercredi, avril 26, 2006
Back in Luxembourg and I have no idea what day or time it is. In between snatching naps and trying to readjust to European time and merdique weather I took a peek at the Times. What is this that I read? Price Orders? The free market government wants to curb inflation by issuing price orders?
Until what I think was yesterday but what feels physically like two days ago I was in Cuba dealing with the one product per market, one price per government's fancy, one black market per person. The news from Malta is like a bad nightmare in the middle of my dazed dreams. So we join the EU, we try (and try is just the word) to adjust our laws to the needs of a liberalised market and then we set up a semblance of institutions to monitor and encourage this market - foremost among which is the Office of Fair Trading. The result? .... we toy with the idea of price orders - an archaic leftover from the Mintoffian era. Do you remember the nation sitting anxiously during Mintoff's budgets as his tightening of the belt would include an announcement on the new price of tinned sardines?
In Cuba they have this funny notice at almost every shop or kiosk. It announces consumer rights which are very similar to the basic rights in the consumer directive. They include right of replacement for latent defect, right of clear explanation of goods and their use, right to good quality etc etc.... and most of these rights are dependent on the consumer having a receipt for the sale. Which is where the fun starts. Because after bargaining a price, no Cuban trader worth his pesos convertibles will issue a receipt. Commie laws, popular trading. A bit like Malta in a way.
And to think that what our economy really needs is a strong OFT with the right powers to let the economy curb inflation on its own steam.
So as you can gather I am back... sort of. Will be wholly recovered by Thursday. See you then!
Picture: The Comecon - maybe a more apt place for Malta's economy?