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The Forum > Article Comments > WA's socialist potatoes > Comments

WA's socialist potatoes : Comments

By David Leyonhjelm, published 5/4/2012

In true Soviet style, PMC inspectors have the power to stop and search a vehicle if it is suspected to be carrying more than 50 kg of potatoes.

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So does this make Mr Potato Head a Political Commissar?
Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 5 April 2012 8:43:51 AM
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If you are prosecuted under these ridiculous laws, you should plead not guilty and indicate that if you lose in court, you'll seek to have any fine deducted from compensation for unconstitutional taxes, thereby threatening to cut off the revenue from the offending taxes: http://www.grputland.com/2012/02/how-to-beat-revenue-raising-fines.html .
Posted by grputland, Thursday, 5 April 2012 8:49:43 AM
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In true soviet style, there is also a law that allows inspectors to stop and search vehicles for rock lobsters. When I was living in WA a few years ago they would put up a roadblock, complete with the police (to stop any stroppy drivers) and hold up traffic for hours.
The land of the free?
Posted by sarnian, Thursday, 5 April 2012 8:51:47 AM
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Interesting article, David.

But letís be careful of the Orwellian, Stalinist and communist comparisons. It doesnít help your argument; it just makes you seem a little extreme in your expression.

There are advantages and disadvantages in highly regulated regimes. It would seem that the WA potato regulations are not clearly disadvantageous in the bigger picture. They discriminate against new growers but help protect established growers, which is something that many primary producers who are subject to fluctuating prices would love to have.

As you say,

<< Ögrowers are in no hurry to see the system changed. >>

You mention a difference in Price of spuds in Perth and Sydney, but you donít know if there is a difference! This is really quite strange. I would have though it an essential factor to get a handle on, so that you can say whether or not consumers are actually disadvantaged or not.

As for regulation; well, if the orderly marketing system is going to be meaningful, then it needs to be tightly regulated, doesnít it? Otherwise itíll fall in a heap and become a free-for-all, or the law-abiding participants will be disadvantaged compared to more aggressive less law-abiding producers.

David, you canít tell us whether the system in WA is actually good or bad overall compared to other states. You canít tell us the consumer does pay more, and yet you condemn the system with some very strong socialistic rhetoric.

It doesnít add up!

I wonder what you would like to see. Iíll take a guess; a system of extremely low regulation where market forces and personal motivation / aggression / ruthlessness are the main forces in determining who is successful and who isnít.

Iím very strongly in favour of a well regulated regime. And I donít think that makes in the slightest bit communistic. In fact, it sits very well within a regime of good governance within a real democracy.
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 5 April 2012 9:20:26 AM
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Interesting that they are allowed to grow 13 different types of spud,the local Supermarkets only stock,Nadine,Royal Blue, and two others so where the rest went I dont know.
Nadine are useless spuds and having lived in the East it like stepping back 30 yrs returning to WA,bit behind QLD in a lot of attitudes held here.
Posted by John Ryan, Thursday, 5 April 2012 10:52:45 AM
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Ludwig

The Orwellian language here is not misplaced. It emphasises that the coercive power of the state must be brought to bear in order to enforce regulation, even in areas where common sense suggests it is not warranted, such as whether I grow or transport potatoes.

To illustrate the point, a few years ago a WA potato grower dared to challenge the WA potato regulators by giving his spuds away (this is not illegal, where selling them would be). The Potato Board responded by spending $268,616 to put his farm under 24-hour surveillance by a private security company to make sure he didnít sell his spuds illegally Ė more Kafka than Orwell, perhaps, but just as weird.

http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/hansard/hans35.nsf/NFS/b3dc7de4da2da07448256618007f788f?OpenDocument

WA consumers pay more for potatoes and have less choice because of regulation. The winners are the bureacracy and a few rent-seeking growers. It's almost funny.
Posted by Rhian, Thursday, 5 April 2012 3:43:59 PM
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