Markets Develop, Even When Suppressed (and when you’re a kid)
To combat childhood obesity, school districts across the country have adopted ever-more-draconian measures to ensure that students are provided with a “healthy diet” throughout their school day.
While I take no issue with schools encouraging healthy eating habits (certainly, I think this is a good thing), I do object to some of the more stringent measures that schools have chosen to take, such as zero tolerance policies. Mostly, my objections stem from the fact that I am fundamentally opposed to omnipresent “father knows best” statist policy, in which the state tells people how they should or should not run their lives. But it’s not just that I object to the terms of such measures, it’s that enforcement of such standards is practically impossible. Schools should recognize that it is up to parents to instill good eating habits in their children, and not the responsibility of the schools themselves. Because despite school districts’ best efforts to prevent “unhealthy food” in their schools, where there’s a will there’s a way.
Case in point: A California-based newspaper details the ever-growing black market for candy among grade-school students. Of course, this is old news to young’ns like me. I remember my own candy racketeering in middle school. Of course, I was only a candy runner in those days (I helped deliver it), not the actual candy supplier (that is, I didn’t keep it in my locker … those kids got suspended).
If SMI addressed social issues, I might argue that this logic unfortunately carries forward to the adult world, as well. But mostly, I think it is interesting how even children understand fundamental economics. That is, when schools (or government officials) limit supply amid strong consumer demand, they make it very profitable for black-market suppliers to deliver their product.