The Problem With A State-Cartel Economy: Prices Rise, Wages Don’t

By Tyler Durden

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The vise will tighten until something breaks. It could be the currency, it could be the political status quo, it could be the credit/debt system – or all three.

The problem with an economy dominated by state-enforced cartels and quasi-monopolies is that prices rise (since cartels can push higher costs onto the consumer) but wages don’t (since cartels can either dominate local labor markets or engage in global wage arbitrage: offshore jobs, move to lower-wage states, etc.)

Think about the major expenses of the typical household: Internet, telephony, cable and other digital services: cartels. Airlines: cartel. Healthcare insurance, providers and Big Pharma: cartels. Defense weaponry: cartel. Higher education and student loans: cartels. Mortgages: cartel. And so on.

The economy is now dominated by two consequences of state-enforced cartels:

1. High profits / high incomes for the owners and managers at the top who reap most of the gains of the cartel: high-income individuals pay most of the income taxes and fund most of the political class’s campaign contributions. No wonder the political class insures that the state protects cartels from competition: it’s called self-interest.

2. Debt. i.e. credit for consumers, so they can continue to borrow more …read more

Source:: ZeroHedge