I agree these were socialist actions, but are we sure that it wasn’t the OPEC embargo that caused oil shortages?
Well, yes and no. The embargo reduced supplies, but the reason you had lines at the gas stations and shortages for consumers, was that the price controls broke the fundamental mechanics of the market.
Normally, when supply is reduced, the price of a commodity goes up, and demand is thus reduced, and things return to an equilibrium state.
But the US injected price controls, which eliminated that natural mechanic. Since prices were unable to rise, demand was never reduced. This caused supply to continually dwindle even further, which then resulted in them simply running out of the commodity, folks in line for gas at the station, etc.
It literally always happens. It’s essentially impossible for it to NOT happen.
In WW1. In WW2. Briefly in 1971. Probably others.
Eh, yeah, I guess during wartime they implemented rationing for those goods, which essentially included price controls. And, like every other time, it further exacerbated shortages, and created black markets.
Yes, shortages are a common result of price controls. But that’s not the same thing as socialism.
Price controls are a common mechanism of socialism, and are essentially a step towards socialism. You are correct though, in that they are not in themselves “socialism”, because they are merely a policy tactic, rather than a whole system.
The reason why they are often associated, is because price controls are an example of the government overstepping its bounds to try and control the means of production (which is essentially the core definition of socialism). Dictating price, rather than allowing the market to do it, is to place limitations on production by limiting the resources available to producers. This then creates problems, as we’ve already described, in the form of commodity shortages.
The next step in this process, is to try and force producers to address those shortages, but since the normal market motivators are no longer there (increased incentive through rising prices), the only real way to do it is through nationalization of the industry where the state then just dictates what will be produced. But as we see repeatedly, the ultimate result of this action is merely kicking the can down the road. It never really addresses the fundamental inefficiency and flaw in the system. It just pushes it down further and temporarily suppresses it, and eventually the system collapses under the strain.
And then, Venezuela.
In cases like the US’s adventures into price controls, they basically caused problems, but eventually the government abandoned them before things totally collapsed. Or in the case of things like cabs or rent controlled housing, the controlled sections of the industry are small enough as to not result in a complete fuckup of the system.