Friday, April 11, 2008

There's a lesson here...and there

Supply and demand determine price of photos of naked first ladies:
A nude photograph of France's first lady, Carla Bruni, has been auctioned for $91,000 (£46,098) - more than 20 times the expected price.

The image was taken by photographer Michel Comte in 1993, when Ms Bruni was a highly sought-after model.

The picture was bought by an anonymous bidder on behalf of a collector, said Christie's auction house in New York, which sold the image.

The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has declined to comment.

And, halfway around the world, a government tries to ignore that economic principle, with predictable results:
As global prices for rice surge to ever higher levels, the world's biggest importer, the Philippines, shows all the signs of being gripped by a rice crisis.

Huge queues form wherever government stocks are being sold at subsidised prices.

The government has been scouring the international markets for new supplies to replenish its stocks, paying record prices.

Rice dominates the newspaper headlines every day, and seems to be consuming the government's energy.

But this crisis is not all it seems. "There's no shortage," Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told me. "The problem is not with supplies, but with price."

Which are inextricably linked.

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