• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Price Gouging

    February 28th, 2012
    econ  [html]
    With a hurricane forecast, prices for bottled water go up. Afterwards a pumping company charges ten times as much to empty basements and a gas station raises prices by 17%. Or a contra dance expecting to be over capacity announces high prices to limit attendance [1]. More expensive fans during a heatwave. Higher tolls during rush hour. People want more of something than is available, and sellers are choosing between keeping the prices the same and running out, or raising their prices and making a lot of money.

    People generally get really upset at this, calling it price gouging. I don't understand why: wouldn't you rather go to the store and find that bottled water was available if you were willing to pay enough than that they were out? Worse, this keeps sellers from spending more to make more water available:

    "Businesses and individuals cannot and should not take advantage of this public emergency to unfairly charge consumers far beyond what they would typically charge for water. Our office will be sending out inspectors to review reports of price gouging and also conduct spot-checks of local businesses ..."

    Bottled water manufacturers said they were increasing production, but that their ability to supply the region was limited by a shortage of drivers on Sunday. -- Boston Globe

    If it were legal to charge more for water in an emergency they could deal with their driver shortage by offering to pay big overtime bonuses to work on a Sunday. Or would that be price gouging by the drivers?


    [1] BIDA just decided not to do this for the upcoming Spark in the Dark. So if you show up late, there probably won't be room. I'll not be there; I'm playing the Cotuit dance that evening.

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    The Limit of Circles in the Suburbs

    In dense urban cores, it’s valuable to run circular rail lines. They connect dense near-center neighborhoods to one another without going through the more congested center, and help make transferring between parallel lines more efficient, again through av…

    via Pedestrian Observations September 6, 2020

    Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Addendum: Rice!

    As an addendum on to our four-part look at the general structures of the farming of cereal grains (I, II, III, IV) this post is going to briefly discuss some of the key ways that the structures of rice farming differ from the structures of wheat and barle…

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry September 4, 2020

    Notes on “Anthropology of Childhood” by David Lancy

    I read David Lancy’s “The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, and Changelings” and highlighted some passages. A lot of passages, it turns out. [content note: discussion of abortion and infanticide, including infanticide of children with disabilit…

    via The whole sky August 27, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact