As I was listening to the radio this morning, a topic that came up was economic freedom and prosperity in Egypt. I went to Egypt not too long ago, and it was a fun place to visit. Steve Landsburg did a blog post about it called: Freedom, Prosperity, and the Future of Egypt.
Here’s one thing I remember about Egypt being really backwards. Car tariffs. Egypt has really old cars that are typically made locally. Some argument for “buy local” through government decree! In 2004, Egypt slashed tariffs — sort of.
Seriously, who doesn’t love a 40% tariff on cars? Local producers, that’s who. Oh wait! We almost forgot the value added tax (VAT). Talk about expensive cars. No wonder people tend to keep them for a very long time. Of course, also, they pollute like nobody’s business. I rode in a couple taxis that were about as old as my parents. It was interesting, and also scary. It sounded like a lawn mower.
Well, Egypt has lowered tariffs even a bit more, which is good. And according to this enlightening article, in 2019 there will be no tariffs at all.
With many raising the protectionist banner, pushing for government mandates of “buy American” and “buy local,” I wonder — could Egypt’s lack of economic freedom be part of the reason they’re protesting? Maybe.