Monday, January 23, 2006

The Politics of Contraband

The San-Antonio Express-News presents a very interesting story by Rio Grande Valley bureau reporter Jesse Bogan about smuggling along the border. But it's not what you think:
In its heyday of the 1970s and '80s, exorbitant tariffs on electronics created an enormous demand and a boon for border aviation and trade economies from Laredo to Brownsville. Anything from Cessnas to doubled-propped DC-3s avoided the tariffs by flying to remote runways.

The lesson sounds familiar: Government-created scarcity (this time the Mexican government) drives prices up, and someone is willing to take the risk for that profit.

Sure, it's not exactly what Glenn Frey sang about, but it's still fascinating.


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