Odd where you can find wisdom these days

The political classes are in conniption fits about the evils of ticket touting. We've insistences that the very idea of a secondary market should be illegal. We've also the same people shouting that of course tickets must be reasonable in price, it's wrong that people must pay what appears to be the market value for something they wish to go and do.

On this very subject Matthew Syed discusses what happens in the Bundeliga, where ticket prices are deliberately low and yes, there's a massive ticket touting operation

On the wider point, history suggests that manipulating prices is generally a bad way to provide poorer people with access to valuable things, creating distortions, rackets and expensive counter-measures. Much better, as a rule, to redistribute income and wealth through the tax system. Either way, the Bundesliga is not the paradise we are sometimes led to believe. It has many strengths, but many covert defects, too.

Entirely so. As we remark often enough, changing the distribution of consumption is simple enough if that is what one is determined to do. Change the distribution of the cash which allows the consumption, don't mess with the markets nor the prices of those things being consumed.

And yes, just for the avoidance of doubt, there is always going to be some changing of that consumption distribution. We might have arguments about how much of it there should be, in fact we do, but the basic concept is clearly going to go on.

But the way to do it is to subsidise people, not things.

Sadly, we seem to find this obvious truth being expressed on the sports pages rather than in Parliament.