Treaties about free trade are not about free trade, but about managed trade. They are the result of thinking in the frames of the 300-years old mercantilist philosophy, which considers export to be the source of wealth and import to be the price paid for that wealth.
INESS members took to the streets with a physical version of the annual bureaucracy load of a new company (652 pages of forms) and polled pedestrians about their view on red tape, giving red apples to the pessimists and green ones to the more positive oriented folks.
While higher taxes cause immediate pain, numerous fees can be hidden in prices of products with anybody hardly noticing. A systematic concealing of environmental or social policies into the electricity prices is one of the causes of high prices. INESS has attempted to quantify the effect by introduction of the imaginary “Electric Tax”.
Funny thing is that even professors of economics in the United States themselves were often not able to see the worse performance and lagging of centrally planned economies. Too much of intellectual work sometimes makes people forget to look out of the window.
Slovakia is experiencing situation common to many European economies. The price of electric energy on the market is falling, so is the overall consumption of electricity. And yet, the final price for consumers, especially in the industrial sector, remains high.
Riding on the wave of historical fear, Slovak government quickly came up with a new protective law. In general, it forbids any agricultural landowner to sell land (2000 square meters and more) freely to just anyone. The willing seller has to actively search for an interested local farmer and offer him the land for “usual” price first.
In the last five years, Piraeus Bank has lost 97% of its value and Eurobank (indeed, an apt name) an astounding 99.8% of the value. Their market value is currently five times lower that the market value of the Uber company. However, the Stock Exchange has not reached the historic low of the year 2012.
The invisible hand is actually made of billions of very visible hands which put the products into shopping carts, receive payments, or shake other hands to complete a contract. The market is efficient because it is the only real “social” element of the arrangement of the society.
To understand utility of an intermediary we need to understand subjective price theory. A can of cheese does not have a universal value given from the “universe”, but rather N subjective values which vary in time and space. A task of the intermediary is to exchange what we need less for what we need more.