The Null Device
Government meddling in the free market
Vigorous competition in the global coffee-bean market has forced growers to find more ways of slashing costs and meeting ever-tighter margins. Some coffee growers in Brazil have found a way of running more efficiently:
using slave labour
. This typically involved "hiring" poor labourers in one part of the country, shipping them to another part and then neglecting to pay them; not having any money to get home, the labourers would have no choice but to work. Too bad for the growers that the meddling government decided to squash this sterling example of free-market ingenuity.
(Apparently coffee prices these days are unnaturally low, so non-slave-labour using plantations cannot compete on the market and end up going out of business. Not to worry; once all the plantations that are unfit to compete in this market go under and are bought out by an oligopoly of a few gigantic De Beers-like coffee multinationals, prices will go up to more sustainable levels and beyond. The wisdom of the free market corrects all mistakes.)
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