Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Politics of Rice 21

Finally Kompas admits that rice import is necessary.

But, not surprisingly, Kompas goes on with its apologetic tone: "As long as it is supported by accurate data, importing rice is justified".

This argument has been used as well by economists who love export but hate import. Only if you notice, these are the people who always say that there is no reliable data on rice production. Yet, they argue using data from god knows where.

So, how can you justify a policy basing on data that are not reliable?

Paraphrasing their arguments, it goes like this:
1. Import is OK
2. As long as the domestic supply is really short, relative to the domestic demand
3. To be sure on # 2, look at the data on production
4. But be careful, because no data is to be trusted
5. So do not import
6. Or import...
7. As long as the production data is accurate
What is it they are really trying to say?

My suggestion, if you don't trust data, trash them. If, as you say, production data are all lies, use price as indicator. What does high price tell you? Supply is short. What's so damn difficult?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Politics of Rice 20

So, now they panic with the very high price of rice. You've been warned, dear, you've been warned.

It's amazing that those who oppose rice market liberalization are still making empty rhetorics. You can say anything using fancy terms like 'agricultural revitalization' and all that. But as long as you distort the price, nothing will change.

Now I'm amused that people care about the skyrocketing rice price. I thought you want higher and higher price 'to help farmers'? Siswono, you happy now? Well, I guess you just don't care about Tarsemi, Darti and others.

By the way, I agree that the productivity issue should be addressed. Yes, but also, unleash the market. That way, you can see if you want to be productive or not. As I like to say, double productivity with double price means nothing.

And once again, I'm not a Bulog defender! No.