The stranger on the road, and how the government suppresses freedom of trade

Other author’s opinions

The effect of the bomber: how a simple story can make up for the poor act 13 Jul 2016, 15:02

The right to buy came protectionism and “import substitution”, on the site the right to sell — constraint on all forms of trade

Senator Sergei Lisovsky proposed amendments to the law on trade, which would deprive consumers of the ability to go to the supermarket after 21:00 and on Sunday. The initiative was rejected literally everything: from the Vice-speaker of the Duma Irina Yarovaya to first Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov. However, such news appear several times a year. We got used to them and rarely expressed feelings. To represent these feelings is difficult, but here’s a little thought experiment.

Freedom with limitations

Finished a long day at work. Half-past nine: a hypermarket is still running, you can still fill half the fridge already. Then someone, a stranger, blocks you pass. What would you do if this happened? If a stranger said that today he will not let you in any major store? If added, what will stand in your way every night?

Someone, much stronger men, have done it on their own. Someone would solve the problem with the police. Someone would be left without the usual food at a convenience store a lot of things, but in the soup it will not gain.

The trouble is that the Senator or MP on their own can not cope. It will not help the police, rather, will help, but not you. The buyer has no known ways to stop such a person.

To the current situation, the consumer took a long time. New Russia, not least began with a decree issued in January 1992 the decree of Boris Yeltsin “About free trade”. This decree, in fact the consumer a Constitution that guaranteed the Russians the freedom of trade and understood it as a two-fold freedom: freedom to sell with minor exceptions, anything “in any convenient” for customers, areas, and however the freedom to buy the right to import duty-free goods from abroad. This freedom did not last long.

In April 1992 the Moscow government openly abused one of the reservations of the decree — a ban on trade in the remaining sacred territory, “adjacent to the buildings of state authorities,” and entirely ceased trading on certain streets (Okhotny Ryad, New Arbat) and squares. As many times and later commentators have treated this violation of the law complacent, thinking that opportunities for trade still.

However, only a couple of months, in June, a new edition of the decree stipulates: the goods can be sold “at any convenient locations”, and only a few “reserved” for this. Soon came the licensing of commercial activities and restrictions on duty-free goods.

18 years later, in December 2009, a decree “On the freedom of trade” was formally canceled as invalid in connection with adoption of the law on trade. In the new situation the right to buy and sell de facto government are treated as spam.

The construction of barriers

The right to buy came in protectionism in trade negotiations, representatives of the state seek to defend as much as possible high barriers to import of products, socially important goods levied exceeding the regular level of duty. “Import substitution” is the only recognizable slogan of modern economic policy, but its implementation often nothing is done: small manufacturers do not know what to do with the products, as small retail, their traditional partner, under the influence of the administrative burden has been steadily shrinking.

The right to sell came the policy of suppression of all forms of trade: chain stores — in connection with their alleged monopoly markets — they are sane tax evasion, kiosks and pavilions at the lack of attractive appearance.

We are far from being able to maintain cancelled Yeltsin’s decree in all its particulars: in normal circumstances in front of the theater should not be the market. However, we do not like the regulatory trend that has been playing in one of the gates: in the 25 years of the suppression of freedom of trade, initially focused on Central Moscow’s Okhotny Ryad and Teatralnaya square, covered the entire country. Voting with one’s wallet, which gave consumers direct power over what and where will be sold, largely replaced by the rule of politicians and bureaucrats, for whom the voice of the consumer is only one of many.

In 2012, the unique theme of the survey FOM “Competition in the economy — good or evil?” showed that only 11% of citizens believed that in the event of a collision of the interests of the consumer and the manufacturer, the government will focus on the consumer. Three times more, 34%, were of the contrary opinion.

The consumer sees as officials and politicians are received from the state attorney: first forbidden to buy beer and cigarettes in stalls, then most of these kiosks have begun to remove (and not only in Moscow), then the bucket was raised over a foreign online shops, and here came the turn to the hypermarkets.

False explanation

Sharing the vision of citizens, skeptics, we do not think that where the lost consumer, certainly won the manufacturer or some significant group. Winners can be official or politician as such. The second most popular (23%) among the respondents of the FOM response, according to which “the government does not protect nor one nor the other”, reflects probably this side of life. Illustrative example of Sergei Lisovsky, once a businessman, who does not avoid involvement in politics (a member of Yeltsin’s election headquarters arrested at the White house with the famous box from the copier) and now a politician, not avoiding the business. The Senator leads the Association of wholesale-distribution centers, and the interests of the latter, obviously, faced with the corporate interests of retail chains with their own warehouses. The image, as if taking a leap in Russian life from the novels of Ayn Rand.

Limit hours of operation of supermarkets is motivated by the interests of small business. However, I assume that the real vital interests of the majority of small entrepreneurs, among which belong the authors of the article, not someone to eliminate the competition. Small trading business suffers the least from the work of “Auchan” in night shift. Small retail formats are demolished everywhere (recently in Kaluga closed the Central municipal market) and hardly former entrepreneurs continue to be interested in hours of former colleagues from major retail. For small business comparison of power consumers and power politicians were not in favor of the latter: consumers though not always in words, but in fact supported the development of all retail formats.

Initiative to ban night trading is such that no doubt as to her attitude. As well as the actions of a stranger that blocked the road!

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.

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