Saturday, May 28, 2016

Private-enterprise mumbo-jumbo

I spent parts of my childhood in Argentina and took several trips into the interior with my father to prospect for minerals.
My father was a confirmed free-market enthusiast and never ceased praising the virtues of free enterprise.
On our travels through rural parts of the country, as a matter of fact whenever we left the capital for the interior,  we usually stayed at a chain of hotels that was ubiquitous, clean and had good service and excellent food. The entire chain was owned and operated directly by a department of the Argentine federal government, I think it was called Dirección General de Turismo. The few times we had to stay in private hotels we found they were mostly pretty grungy outfits. We avoided private enterprise hostelry like the plague whenever we could, in order to indulge in the comfort of government digs.
Pity I never realized the discrepancy between my father’s theory and his practice until much later, when I studied economics.

Sometimes “Economics 101” is actually “Economics 000.”