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?

4 comments:

Arya said...

Aco,
Is there any way to re-educate Kompas editors? Gosh! The opinion piece's illogical last paragraph makes me really angry:

"Satu hal yang tak boleh kita lupakan, kita tak mungkin mengandalkan kebutuhan pangan pada bangsa lain. Terbukti sekarang, kita tidak berdaya ketika masyarakat kembali harus antre beras, makan nasi aking, karena kita terlalu lama melupakan pembangunan pertanian.

People can't eat because we can't import. But, guess what, let's not "rely on other countries" -- i.e., let's not import.

Aco said...

Arya, Kompas editors are hopeless :-( If only Brad DeLong reads Kompas (and know Bahasa)... Or should we dedicate a special blog to address Kompas errors?

iwil & mbuli.. said...

Well Sir,,I guess you have to apply to Kompas as their new editor, instead of complaining them for the 21st time. +p

Aco said...

iwil & mbuli.., sorry, but that's nonsense. have you never complained about movies, books, anything you bought? using your logic, why don't you make your own movies/books, etc?