Sunday, February 08, 2009

Fill-In-The-Blank Price Gouging Form

Last fall, Art Carden of the Mises Institute provided a "fill-in-the-blank" price gouging form, which was filled in below for the most recent disaster, the winter storm in Kentucky, using information this news report:

Fearing increases in the prices of basic items as a result of (disaster: MAJOR WINTER STORM), officials in (state or municipality: KENTUCKY) have declared a state of emergency whereby restrictions on "price gouging" are now in effect. According to (politician or law enforcement official: ATTORNEY GENERAL JACK CONWAY), the law is designed to protect innocent consumers from "unconscionable" increases in the prices of food, gasoline, ice, electric generators, and home-repair services.


At 2/08/2009 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is much. Surely he jests (sarcastically).

But in the spirit of perfect information, wouldn't it be good to be able to identify the bad (and good) actors?

At 2/09/2009 2:47 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

How do you plan to define "Good" and "Bad" actors, praytell?

If I go out of my way to bring in extra power generators from around the USA in order to fill orders/demand, and am not going to get paid any more than if I didn't do that extra work, Why the F*** would I bother?

There's a simple response to almost all "price gouging".

Don't F***ing buy it.

In most cases, the things being gouged for are only those things that, if you'd used some common sense, you wouldn't need to be buying now ANYWAY, you'd have bought them before the need became so critical that you were willing to consider paying an excessive fee.

If you're not smart enough to stock extra water along the gulf coast during hurricane season, then you SHOULD be paying more for being STUPID. And that's even more so if you failed to go out and buy extra water BEFORE the need became unavoidable, like when the hurricane was merely "threatening" to come through your area -- which is usually a week or more in advance with modern weather predictions.

All price gouging is in most cases is a stupidity tax.

In those rare examples otherwise (such as raised motel room rates in neighboring areas after a hurricane has struck) they serve a much more critical value of signalling scarcity.

While a family of four might normally get two rooms, one for mommy and daddy, and one for the kids, if the rates are jacked discouraging that, so they double up and all stay in one room, that leaves one room available for other refugees.

People who whine about "price gouging" are usually idiots who want to avoid the responsibilty of thinking ahead, and/or don't grasp the purpose of prices in the economic structure in the first place.

At 2/10/2009 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, everyone gets to make their own judgment!

But if an accessible historical record of vendor prices were available, people could look at the record and decide for themselves.

There is a difference between (a) increasing local supply (at a recognized cost) and charging reasonable prices and (b) charging an arm and a leg just because a time window exists during which you can.

It's only when the price spikes are egregious that I find gouging.

At 2/10/2009 2:18 PM, Blogger Unknown Blogger said...

Please define "egregious" and please tell me who the arbitrator of the term is during a crisis.


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