I’m currently reading Justice by Michael J. Sandel and it is turning out to be very interesting. The chapter that I’m on right now is about price-gouging and what it means to different people in different situations.
One of the best examples that Sandel talks about is that when Hurricane Charley hit Florida and everyone had to go to hotels, use gas, buy generators and other supplies such as water and whatnot and that they had no choice but to buy them and to pay those prices when supposedly people have a free market to buy from but in situations like the hurricane they really don’t have a choice when their house is destroyed but to stay in the hotel and pay the $160 a night when it normally goes for $40 (took those numbers directly from the book).
Thomas Sowell, a free-market economist referenced and quoted in the book, says that when companies make merchandise higher prices it makes it limited for the consumers (people buying it) and making suppliers from farther away more of a reason to market to that area for the normal price to provide the same goods and services in the hurricane aftermath and they get the business from consumers rather than the companies charging the higher prices.
Another gentleman, Jeff Jacoby whom is a pro-market commentator writing for the Boston Globe states that price-gouging laws shouldn’t be required because it isn’t gouging the prices if the market can bear those prices and should be that way even after hurricanes hit because that shouldn’t interfere with the free market to which others outside of the hurricane disaster have to pay that price as well.
Again on the other hand, a gentleman named Crist who was attorney general and later was governor of Florida, said that the government can’t stay on the sidelines while companies charge the people prices for basic commodities that are outrageous and extremely above the standard.
(My opinion from now on, the previous was the Sandel’s opinion in his book, Justice)
What do y’all think about price-gouging?? Should it be allowed?
Gas prices are ridiculous and keep rising because it’s such a monopoly. People have to buy gas, sadly it’s unrealistic that people can be economically friendly and use a bike so people are going to buy gas so the gas companies can charge whatever they like because the consumers will buy it. The normal around my area is about $4.08, some places are $3.98, and the highest I’ve seen is $4.37. There is nothing the consumers can do to change these prices either because boycotting buying gas for one day won’t do anything because we will just buy it the next day.
How do you suggest consumers try and change the monopoly on gas?
Should the government demand that the companies break down into smaller companies and that they can only own so many stores?? Or will that make it worse??