Banned Products, Available in Poor Countries
In a recent Harry Hole mystery novel The Leopard, Jo Nesbø (an economist as well as novelist) has Harry ask someone, “Where would you go to get it [a particular anesthetic] now?” and is answered, “Ex-Soviet states. Or Africa….The producer sells it at bargain-basement prices since the European ban, so it ends up in poor countries.” When rich countries ban something, they increase its supply to poor countries that refuse to ban it. Prices are lowered to consumers there. Rich countries’ safety is enhanced, poor countries’ worsened, with the only consolation that consumers in poor countries become able to obtain the harmful substance at lower prices. Are people in each country better off, worse off, or what?