August 12, 2013
This one is too ridiculous to not pass along.
I’ve long written that desperate governments try to ‘control’ everything as they slide into insolvency.
They impose capital controls, exchange controls, wage and price controls, gun controls, border controls, and more.
But the government of Argentina has really taken this to another level.
Their latest stunt? Manufacturing Viagra at a state-owned pharmaceuticals company… and giving it out for free to the people.
Bear in mind, Argentina has tried everything else in the playbook. Cristina Fernandez, the current president, has forced people to hold the rapidly depreciating Argentine peso and restricted people from buying foreign currency or gold.
She has jailed economists and central bankers who don’t do her bidding.
She has told bold-faced lies about economic data. She has hired thugs to roam the streets and beat up political opposition groups.
She has imposed price controls at grocery stores, seized private pension funds, nationalized foreign companies’ assets, taken control of the local media.
She has managed to accumulate tens of millions of dollars in wealth despite having spent a lifetime in politics.
She has launched a nationwide biometric tracking program, and police will have mobile finger print scanners to grab people’s prints at routine traffic stops.
According to the propaganda videos, the program’s slogan is– “The more we know about each other, the safer we’ll be.”
So far the national database has accumulated 8 million fingerprints. That’s roughly 20% of the population.
They’re grabbing them early now. If you have a child in Argentina, the newborn baby’s biometric data will be automatically recorded and stored in the government database.
This is playing out in textbook fashion. The worse the economy gets, the more desperate the government becomes… and the more they try to control everything.
The only thing left, it seems, is the reproductive behavior of Argentine citizens.
And so, starting last week, the government began issuing hundreds of thousands of doses of the wildly popular drug.
This can’t possibly work out well. Given how soundly governments everywhere tend to botch things up, I shudder to think at the alien side effects that will result from this.
The whole thing reminds me of Stalin’s approach to economic management.
In Soviet Russia, Stalin was notorious for vanquishing large swaths of the population in an effort to ‘improve’ standard of living.
Standard of living is defined by economists as National Income divided by population. Stalin couldn’t increase national income… so his approach was to simply decrease the population.
Cristina is facing a related challenge in Argentina. National income is low. Productivity is low. So for Cristina, the only way she can move the economic needle higher is to grow the population.
It’s the ultimate reminder of how absurd government control can be when things get really desperate.
They reach a certain point where, after capital controls, gun controls, wage and price controls, etc., the only controls left to implement are people controls.