‘Why not?’ she replied. ‘I find it just amazing that in the Wall Street Journal you defended the pharmacists. I thought, Not Yanis! I found it amazing that you support their monopoly of baby foods and cosmetics – which I know causes problems, from when I was finance minister. And I had my fights.’
I knew of the IMF’s obsession with Greek pharmacies. These invariably small family-owned businesses were protected by a law that permitted only pharmacy school graduates to own one and prohibited the sale of nonprescription drugs by supermarkets. But that, of all possible subjects that needed tackling, the managing director of the IMF, faced with a European country on the brink of default, wanted to discuss this one? I had to pinch myself. I explained that the pharmacies’ monopoly over the sale of baby foods and cosmetics had already ended, and that what I opposed was not the end of their monopoly over certain other commodities but the proletarianization of thousands of owner-pharmacists via the takeover of the pharmacy sector by one or two multinational chains.
hmmm interesting, never considered this before. useful illustration that sometimes consumers' interests and workers' interests are sometimes at cross-purposes (and that workers' interests are more important sometimes, in the absence of enough resources to find a better compromise)