Ready for Soviet-style black markets?
A story is told (Who knows if it's true? It was long before the internet) about how residents of the former Soviet Union bought and sold vegetables. Comrades could buy them from government-run stores at state-mandated prices, but the produce there was scarce and unattractive. The other choice was the black market, which thrived as it always does under Marxist governments. Old Russian ladies kept gardens, a necessity in a land whose soil is not quite adequate to feed its population. They took their lovely produce to undisclosed locations everyone knew about, to sell at high prices. At the end of the day, they returned home with everything they didn't sell and ate it.
Markets are different under Marxism.
In modern-day California, run by Marxists, we find the city of San Francisco, run by Marxists, all of whom have chosen to hasten the Revolution rather than serve the public. Among the ways they do this is to allow theft. Granted, only theft of a certain dollar value is allowed (in contrast to the Eighth Commandment, which does not set a threshold), but the amount, about a thousand American dollars, is high enough that a thief could hardly exceed it unless he made off with a Harley or a diamond ring.
Perhaps you've seen the video of the bicycle-mounted thief ransacking a drugstore and carrying off his loot in a trash bag. He was not eligible for prosecution. Astonishing, is it not?
Perhaps you've also seen the video of the gang of thieves who smashed display cases at the prestigious Neiman Marcus and fled in a waiting Infiniti, each carrying a designer handbag? For all intents and purposes, they violated the law no more than you or I would have if we'd paid for those same bags with hundred-dollar bills.
The drugstore had security personnel, visible on camera. Neiman Marcus? Many, no doubt. They were as worthless an interpreter for the deaf at a Biden speech because none of it made any sense in the first place. When theft is legal, retail commerce is impractical.
Here is what might easily happen: the stores in lawless, God-forsaken places run by Marxists, such as San Francisco, will close. Any small, family-owned ones still remaining will go first. No one can risk his future on the whims of socialists. Ask any tobacco-grower who fled 1960s Cuba. They will be followed by lower-margin corporate outlets: dollar stores, drugstores, and food stores. Even large supermarkets operate at less than 3% profit. That won't allow many $1,000 thefts. Finally, high-margin places like Neiman Marcus will shutter. Their profits are not unlimited, nor their patience infinite. The process is well underway. Security costs for retailers are unprecedented, yet theft is still at intolerable levels. What else could happen when it carries no penalty? The rule of law, for the store operator, at least, has ended, and barbarism is the inevitable result.
Should all those store closings occur, it will not deter Marxists in government — not in the slightest. For decades, "food deserts" have plagued Democrat-run cities that could not support honest enterprise. Total retail deserts? That's the next logical step. It's not a problem for the left. In fact, it's a blessing in disguise.
The first replacements for traditional retail as a source for food, medicine, and other necessities of life would be online retailers, already the largest in the world. Bezos and Co. are good socialists, despite their multi-billionaire status. Their unmatchable delivery network enables them to bring goods into the desert, like the camels of old. For a while, they would be the beneficiaries of legalized theft.
Thieves wouldn't be deterred for long, though. They have no intention of trading their labor for goods. They want the goods you have earned through your labor. If they can't steal them from stores, they will steal them from you: your doorstep; your mailbox; or, failing that, the delivery van bringing them to you. Stealing $1,000 from a UPS or Amazon truck won't be prosecuted, either. Perhaps you've already seen video of those trucks being picked clean en route. The drivers won't be permitted to defend themselves. Before long, there won't be any drivers, or trucks, in those cities.
Should even online retail become impossible, The Government, like that of the old USSR, will come to the aid of hapless residents with government-run stores, supported by rapidly dwindling tax revenue, at an incredibly high cost. The merchandise there will be scarce and unattractive. Prices will be high.
There will be an alternative: the black market. The goods will be better quality. The prices will be even higher. The people who run it will not tolerate theft of $1,000 — or any amount. The black market knows how to deal with thieves.
It's all too familiar. As Soviet émigré friends once told us, "Train runs in only one direction."
Want to shop at either place? You don't? That's where your local Marxists are sending you. Make your choice about them before they choose for you.
Image via Public Domain Pictures.
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