13 Dec 2011

News Reports Miss the Key Factor in Norwegian Holiday Butter Crisis

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The feature humor item you’ll be seeing everywhere this holiday season is about a drastic shortage of butter in Norway occurring just as the Christmas season is at hand.

The journalists are telling us that the scarcity is the result of recent high Norwegian butter consumption resulting from a fashionable low-carb, high-fat diet on top of reduced production caused by a shortage of hay due to an unusually rainy summer growing season.

Profiteers are reported trying to charge as much as 350 euros ($465) for a 500-gram (1.1 lb. or 1 lb and 1.6 oz) packet of butter.

Ho, ho! Isn’t it funny?

None of the features on this news item I have found, however, notes that no butter shortage exists elsewhere in Europe or in the United States. But the AFP story offers a clue:


Last Friday, customs officers stopped a Russian at the Norwegian-Swedish border and seized 90 kilos (198 pounds) of butter stashed in his car.

The butter shortage obviously is not result, in a modern world, of a local dairy feed shortage, or of local supplies being exhausted by unusual demand. With rising demand and consumers willing to pay higher prices, the supply would be being met by enterprising Russians trying to make a kroner, if government were not standing in the way.

It is obvious that some kind of Norwegian limits on butter importation, doubtless in place to protect Norwegian dairy farmers, prevents legal access to supplies from abroad.

Norway’s holiday problem isn’t really about diet fads or rainy summers. It’s about government doing what government likes to do: delivering favors to special interests at the expense of society as a whole.


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SDD

As recently as the 1950s it was illegal to bring margarine into the state of Minnesota. People used to “run” loads from Iowa in the trunks of their car and sell them on street corners.
It is still illegal to sell only margarine in restaurants in Wisconsin. You have to offer butter as well to be within the law.
And liberals scratch their heads as to why people don’t trust government.



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