When Japan’s 1980s bubble economy was mere months away from going pop, the cost of golf club memberships had risen vertiginously and reached stratospheric heights. There is a lot that can be learnt from unusual economic indicators.
The Chinese media now reports that burial costs are soaring in many cities. A typical burial plot is now 14 times more expensive than it was around a decade ago. What is not clear is whether this in an indication of a general bubble economy, or whether the sharp rise in the prices of burial plots has more to do with inadequate supply in one part of the Chinese economy. The Beijing government has decided it is the latter, and says it will crack down on speculators who buy and sell burial plots. It will set prices.
A refusal to recognize that the problem is poor supply rather than evil speculation—now doesn’t this remind you of our own government’s response to rising food prices?