ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags natural disasters , price gouging

Reply
Old 10th September 2017, 08:31 PM   #81
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 11,491
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I am glad I do not have to live in the nightmare of purity you would inflict on the world.
What purity? In Bob's brave new world, if you are going to engage in petty theft then you had better kill the victim to make sure that there are no witnesses. You have a better chance of escaping the death penalty in the latter case.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th September 2017, 09:31 PM   #82
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
What purity? In Bob's brave new world, if you are going to engage in petty theft then you had better kill the victim to make sure that there are no witnesses. You have a better chance of escaping the death penalty in the latter case.
I never said I favored the death penalty. I'm pretty sure I have came out against it.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th September 2017, 09:33 PM   #83
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
Does the severity of the stealing of a lawn chair warrant the death penalty?

If not, then severity (and the larger context of proportionality of response) does seem to matter.

At that point we're just "quibbling over price."

Sent from my SM-J327P using Tapatalk
It doesn't, but I haven't said any value of stolen goods warranted the death penalty.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th September 2017, 10:16 PM   #84
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 11,491
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
I never said I favored the death penalty. I'm pretty sure I have came out against it.

Not in this thread you haven't:
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
England used to have a law that sentenced people to hang for stealing something worth more than a shilling. I'm guessing that had you been around in those days, you would have abolished the shilling minimum.
I can't think of a good reason why price should be a factor in sentencing.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th September 2017, 10:39 PM   #85
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
What purity? In Bob's brave new world, if you are going to engage in petty theft then you had better kill the victim to make sure that there are no witnesses. You have a better chance of escaping the death penalty in the latter case.
I figure that the idea here is ideological purity, doctrine above all else. Whether the implementation of it is the death penalty, some other unspecified level of severity, or not punishing anyone for anything, whether it's all or nothing it amounts to much the same thing, the clean shiny ideology ignoring the sloppy complexity of reality.
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th September 2017, 10:45 PM   #86
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I figure that the idea here is ideological purity, doctrine above all else. Whether the implementation of it is the death penalty, some other unspecified level of severity, or not punishing anyone for anything, whether it's all or nothing it amounts to much the same thing, the clean shiny ideology ignoring the sloppy complexity of reality.
Exactly.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 07:29 AM   #87
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Exactly.
I suppose there must be some satisfaction in that for some. I think an ideology whose divorce from reality is so complete as to make it inhuman and impractical is not very meaningful in the context of getting anything done or improving the world.

An amusing thought exercise perhaps, but on the dark side it can also serve as an ongoing excuse for inaction and failure. All or nothing schemes make it far too easy to justify nothing.

It's all very well to daydream and wonder what it would be like if we had wings, as long as you don't start throwing people out of the plane and blaming them when they hit the ground.
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 09:32 AM   #88
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 39,552
Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
Better to ration the products instead of making them harder for poor people to buy what they need.

Ranb
That is unamerican socialism, capitalism will solve all these problems.
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 09:36 AM   #89
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 39,552
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Now suppose you are not literally dying of thirst, but you are thirsty, so thirsty that you'd be willing to pay $10 for a bottle. That sends a strong signal to the market that there's a profit to be made bringing bottles of water to your area, as nobody would pay $10 a bottle for water in normal circumstances. So a whole bunch of people bring bottled water to your area and start selling it for $10 a bottle, then $9.00, then $7.00, etc. Eventually whatever caused the shortage runs out, and the excess profit disappears.
And the people too poor to evacuate can just drink the flood water.
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 09:37 AM   #90
ponderingturtle
Orthogonal Vector
 
ponderingturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 39,552
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Not sure why it had to be a or b why not c?
Because C is evil socialism.
__________________
Sufficiently advanced Woo is indistinguishable from Parody
"There shall be no *poofing* in science" Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Force ***** on reasons back" Ben Franklin
ponderingturtle is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 10:40 AM   #91
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Another issue with rationing or quantity limits is lines impose a cost on everyone in the line with a greater costs to those in the back.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 10:47 AM   #92
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Another issue with rationing or quantity limits is lines impose a cost on everyone in the line with a greater costs to those in the back.
And presumably in line with your perfect doctrine, all costs are equal, so the cost of waiting for your share is equal to the cost of not getting any at all. A free for all certainly avoids the cost of orderly lining up, but not everyone would agree that the substitution of trampling and shortage are preferable.
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 10:48 AM   #93
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
And presumably in line with your perfect doctrine
My doctrine does not apply to that statement. I'm not arguing it from my doctrine. I'm pointing that out as a factor of the doctrine of others.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 11:01 AM   #94
Argumemnon
World Maker
 
Argumemnon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In the thick of things
Posts: 67,355
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Quote:
Are you trying some sort of Socratic method?
Do you know the answer?
Poison?
__________________
<Roar!>

Argumemnon is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 02:36 PM   #95
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
My doctrine does not apply to that statement. I'm not arguing it from my doctrine. I'm pointing that out as a factor of the doctrine of others.
You made a direct statement to the effect that rationing and quantity limits impose a cost to those in line, greater to those at the end. Unless that statement is utterly empty and meaninglesss, it implies at least that there might be some preferable action that imposes less cost to those needing goods and services. Since I have not seen any doctrine other than your own, attributing your statement to the doctrine of others is mysterious.
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 02:46 PM   #96
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
You made a direct statement to the effect that rationing and quantity limits impose a cost to those in line, greater to those at the end. Unless that statement is utterly empty and meaninglesss, it implies at least that there might be some preferable action that imposes less cost to those needing goods and services. Since I have not seen any doctrine other than your own, attributing your statement to the doctrine of others is mysterious.
It is a statement from economics. How much meaning someone places on it is up to the individual. I'm indifferent to the fact.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 02:50 PM   #97
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 14,444
Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
And the people too poor to evacuate can just drink the flood water.
If we prohibit price gouging, everybody gets to drink the flood water, and for a longer period of time. Equality!
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 03:06 PM   #98
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,676
Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Because C is evil socialism.
What is your opinion of the reformations made in Venezuela to make food, medicine, and toilet paper more affordable for the poor? The amount of labor they now have to work to feed themselves has sky rocketed. The reforms are not just a waste of people's labor, it is also a waste of natural resources: it requires a lot more land to produce the same amount of food as it did before.
portlandatheist is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 03:12 PM   #99
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
It is a statement from economics. How much meaning someone places on it is up to the individual. I'm indifferent to the fact.
Then why state it as if it were your own opinion and had meaning for you? Is it a passive-aggressive move to foment argument or just a deficiency of expression?
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 03:31 PM   #100
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Then why state it as if it were your own opinion and had meaning for you? Is it a passive-aggressive move to foment argument or just a deficiency of expression?
Deficiency of expression. Atheists debate scripture without adhering to it.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 03:44 PM   #101
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Deficiency of expression. Atheists debate scripture without adhering to it.
Nice job of apologizing without apology. Few atheists are found quoting scripture as if it were their own.
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 03:49 PM   #102
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Nice job of apologizing without apology. Few atheists are found quoting scripture as if it were their own.
Well I'm just awesome like that.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 06:51 PM   #103
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 21,485
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Well I'm just awesome like that.
Well, awe-something anyway!
__________________
Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding. (Samuel Johnson)

I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)
bruto is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 06:56 PM   #104
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Well, awe-something anyway!
...inspiring.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th September 2017, 11:50 PM   #105
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,652
Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Because C is evil socialism.
Which is more ethical out of a or b?

Don't you have a view? Is it not possible to say? Is the question "too silly"?

Remarkable unwillingness to answer.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 12:10 AM   #106
GlennB
In search of pi(e)
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pie City, Arcadia
Posts: 21,068
Originally Posted by Francesca R View Post
Which is more ethical out of a or b?

Don't you have a view? Is it not possible to say? Is the question "too silly"?

Remarkable unwillingness to answer.
If a and b are the most extreme options and there is a whole spectrum of intermediate ones then I wouldn't blame anybody for being unwilling to choose one of the extremes. If someone does get nagged into choosing between the extremes then they run the risk of being labelled as a supporter of that extreme view when it clearly didn't represent their true opinion.
__________________
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 9/11 truth is a clock with no hands." - Beachnut
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 12:29 AM   #107
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,652
@GlennB your answer is that a and be are ethically equal?

Or are you not going to answer either?
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 12:51 AM   #108
GlennB
In search of pi(e)
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pie City, Arcadia
Posts: 21,068
Originally Posted by Francesca R View Post
@GlennB your answer is that a and be are ethically equal?

Or are you not going to answer either?
I'm not going to answer, for a reason that I've already explained - the choice being offered is unreasonable; it's binary when reality offers a spectrum of answers. But the way you've put it now goes well into strawman territory that you'd only skirted before.

Let me play:

Your car is misbehaving. Is it better to -

a. Scrap it and buy a new one
b. Carry on driving the dodgy car as it is

The correct answer is: "It's a stupid question as there are many alternatives that need analysing", but you are only allowed a or b.
__________________
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 9/11 truth is a clock with no hands." - Beachnut
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 02:03 AM   #109
Archie Gemmill Goal
Illuminator
 
Archie Gemmill Goal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,419
Originally Posted by Francesca R View Post
Nice though it is to know what the ideal solution is, which is to be preferred out of (a) some free agent selling stuff at exorbitant price and (b) the same free agent not lifting a finger?

Just pick a or b
Not enough information to choose. We don't know what the consequences of those two actions would be, whether doing a) is depriving others of resources to help, or would result in everyone else copying them and meaning stuff could only be obtained for exorbitant prices that would otherwise have been available at more reasonable prices etc. Sending a message that the wealthy can buy their way out of situations that the poor just need to suffer is not helpful either.

I'd tend towards b in the sense that in times of disaster someone trying to exploit the situation for their own personal profit is probably not going to be helpful and that type of person is probably best off out of it and allowing the people who want to help free reign to do their best.
__________________
"I love sex and drugs and sausage rolls
But nothing compares to Archie Gemmill's goal"
Archie Gemmill Goal is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 10:05 AM   #110
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 14,444
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
If a and b are the most extreme options and there is a whole spectrum of intermediate ones then I wouldn't blame anybody for being unwilling to choose one of the extremes. If someone does get nagged into choosing between the extremes then they run the risk of being labelled as a supporter of that extreme view when it clearly didn't represent their true opinion.
If there is a whole spectrum of intermediate options... name one.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 10:25 AM   #111
GlennB
In search of pi(e)
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pie City, Arcadia
Posts: 21,068
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
If there is a whole spectrum of intermediate options... name one.
Enforceable price controls.

Or did you mean the car analogy? In that case get the car's problem diagnosed.
__________________
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 9/11 truth is a clock with no hands." - Beachnut
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 11:13 AM   #112
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,652
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post

Your car is misbehaving. Is it better to -

a. Scrap it and buy a new one
b. Carry on driving the dodgy car as it is.
Those are equally ethical.

Now which is more ethical out of my a or b or are they equivalent?

You don't need any other alternatives to make that call. Perhaps the answer you would give troubles you.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 11:21 AM   #113
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 11,491
Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Another issue with rationing or quantity limits is lines impose a cost on everyone in the line with a greater costs to those in the back.
Why does rationing have to mean queues?

During WW2 essentials like petrol in Australia were strictly rationed. Motorists had to use their ration coupons at the service station in order to buy their allocated amount of petrol but they didn't have to queue up to do so.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 11:22 AM   #114
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,652
Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post

I'd tend towards b [ . . . ].
Thank you. That's consistent with the threat of punishment for gouging, encouraging would be gougers to do nothing instead.

The logical implication is that somebody selling into a disaster situation at an exorbitant price is doing more harm than somebody who does nothing in response to this situation.

I think that's backwards though.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th September 2017, 11:41 AM   #115
BobTheCoward
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,342
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Why does rationing have to mean queues?

During WW2 essentials like petrol in Australia were strictly rationed. Motorists had to use their ration coupons at the service station in order to buy their allocated amount of petrol but they didn't have to queue up to do so.
I can find tons of pictures of ration lines. We could go with a lot for reasons. Probably the biggest is immediate supply might not equal demand with ration cards allocation is only done by order in line.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th September 2017, 10:35 AM   #116
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,676
And another article on price gouging in the NYT:
Hurricane Price Gouging Is Despicable, Right? Not to Some Economists
Quote:
Empty shelves at a supermarket in Florida. Supplies went quickly as Hurricane Irma approached. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times
When a devastating hurricane like Irma or Harvey arrives, stories about price gouging inevitably spread quickly. Last week, a one-way coach flight from Miami to Phoenix jumped in price from $547.50 to $3,258.50, prompting immediate outrage. In Houston, a picture of a case of water being sold for $42.96 at Best Buy did the same. (Best Buy apologized and said it was a “big mistake” by a few employees.)

Over all, more than 8,000 complaints of price gouging on items like gas, food and ice were lodged with the Florida attorney general’s office through the weekend.

On its face, the very idea of price gouging, especially during a natural disaster, feels outrageous. Indeed, 34 states have anti-gouging laws meant to protect consumers.

However, in a small slice of the world of economists and businesses, there is a fascinating debate about the topic — with many arguing that price gouging is actually a good thing.

Yes, you heard that correctly.

This is surely heartless, and may offend our sense of decency. But several respected economists from the Milton Friedman school of free-market theory take it seriously. They contend that anti-gouging measures, by effectively enacting price controls during emergencies, remove the incentive for consumers to conserve essential supplies. They also say that the incentive for suppliers to bring goods to dangerous areas — or keep extra stock on-hand before disasters — becomes distorted in ways that hurt people.



“Price caps discourage extraordinary supply efforts that would help bring goods in high demand into the affected area,” Michael Giberson, an instructor with the Center for Energy Commerce in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, wrote in an opinion piece from several years ago that was widely circulated around parts of Wall Street this weekend. Meanwhile, he suggested, “You discourage conservation of needed goods at exactly the time they are in high demand.”

He added, “In a classic case of unintended consequences, the law harms the very people whom lawmakers intend to help.”
And here is a long paper on The Ethics of Price Gouging
Quote:
Abstract: Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers
of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level
needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging
is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or
criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the
philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the
common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I will make this
argument in three steps, by rebutting three widely held beliefs about
the ethics of price gouging: I ) that laws prohibiting price gouging are
morally justified, 2) that price gouging is morally impermissible behavior,
even if it ought not be illegal, and 3) that price gouging reflects
poorly on the moral character of those who engage in it, even if the act
itself is not morally impermissible.
portlandatheist is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th September 2017, 12:13 PM   #117
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 14,444
Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
And another article on price gouging in the NYT:
Hurricane Price Gouging Is Despicable, Right? Not to Some Economists
What I find amazing is that the writer limits it to "some" economists, and later he reduces that to "a small slice" of all economists.

I would be willing to wager quite a bit that almost all economists are on the same page on this. Maybe you can find a couple of outliers (Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong come to mind as potentials), but price-gouging is inevitable in a free market and most economists agree that a free market is of paramount importance to the economy.

It is not surprising that people would resent price-gouging; those who really need the product must pay much more than they would during normal times. But the important thing is that those who really need it can get it. Without high prices, you get hoarding by those who don't really need it, and then those who really need the product find the shelves (or the gas station) empty.

The gas one in Phoenix in 2003 still galls me. Think about people waiting in line for gas, their cars idling (and the A/C on full blast in August) for 30 minutes and up (and many of them with already a half tank or more). Unfortunately, it was probably a rational response. Let the gas stations raise the price to $5 a gallon and the rational response is, I've got a half gallon, I can wait a couple more days to see if the prices come back down. The lines disappear, everybody has enough gas to get around. And yes, sadly, somebody makes an "excess profit."
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th September 2017, 01:03 PM   #118
GlennB
In search of pi(e)
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pie City, Arcadia
Posts: 21,068
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
It is not surprising that people would resent price-gouging; those who really need the product must pay much more than they would during normal times. But the important thing is that those who really need it can get it. Without high prices, you get hoarding by those who don't really need it, and then those who really need the product find the shelves (or the gas station) empty.
I agree totally with the highlighted part, but fail to see how price-gouging helps.

Let me put it into a local context - we Bs are far from truly wealthy (about €10k in the bank and a similar amount of credit) but most of our neighbours are damn poor in comparison.

Disaster (an earthquake is favourite in these parts) strikes and bags of rice and beans that used to cost €2 rise to €20. We easily have the money to strip the shelves, while neighbours might struggle to buy a bag or three. The price rises to €200 and we can still buy plenty enough to survive while they can buy none at all.

The bottom line - price gouging doesn't help the poor one iota, it just sucks money from everybody and might well positively damage the poor who just have no way of paying the inflated prices. And even if they do just about manage by spending their cash and maxing-out any credit they might have, what happens in the aftermath? How do they cope?
__________________
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 9/11 truth is a clock with no hands." - Beachnut
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th September 2017, 01:56 PM   #119
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,676
Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
I agree totally with the highlighted part, but fail to see how price-gouging helps.

Let me put it into a local context - we Bs are far from truly wealthy (about €10k in the bank and a similar amount of credit) but most of our neighbours are damn poor in comparison.

Disaster (an earthquake is favourite in these parts) strikes and bags of rice and beans that used to cost €2 rise to €20. We easily have the money to strip the shelves, while neighbours might struggle to buy a bag or three. The price rises to €200 and we can still buy plenty enough to survive while they can buy none at all.

The bottom line - price gouging doesn't help the poor one iota, it just sucks money from everybody and might well positively damage the poor who just have no way of paying the inflated prices. And even if they do just about manage by spending their cash and maxing-out any credit they might have, what happens in the aftermath? How do they cope?
Whether you agree with the logic or not the logic behind it is more or less this:
1. Everyone keeps themselves better supplied in anticipation of price gouging and shortages
2. Shop owners are more likely to keep larger stocks of things like water bottles, snow shovels, generators or whatever
3. Suppliers are more willing and able to more swiftly get supplies into where they are needed most. If I'm a water delivery business, more money can be made going into an easily accessible non emergency area as opposed to fighting traffic and other hazards in a disaster area because the bottles of water are the same retail but delivery costs and turn around times are not.
4. Free lancers, aid providers (both private and government), are able to better gauge where there is the most need.
Therefore, the logic goes, the poor, along with everyone else, are less likely to go without essential things in a time of need and for a shorter period of time.
portlandatheist is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th September 2017, 02:30 PM   #120
GlennB
In search of pi(e)
 
GlennB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pie City, Arcadia
Posts: 21,068
Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
Whether you agree with the logic or not the logic behind it is more or less this:
1. Everyone keeps themselves better supplied in anticipation of price gouging and shortages
2. Shop owners are more likely to keep larger stocks of things like water bottles, snow shovels, generators or whatever
3. Suppliers are more willing and able to more swiftly get supplies into where they are needed most. If I'm a water delivery business, more money can be made going into an easily accessible non emergency area as opposed to fighting traffic and other hazards in a disaster area because the bottles of water are the same retail but delivery costs and turn around times are not.
4. Free lancers, aid providers (both private and government), are able to better gauge where there is the most need.
Therefore, the logic goes, the poor, along with everyone else, are less likely to go without essential things in a time of need and for a shorter period of time.
Of the highlighted:

When they only get 5 days warning of the approaching hurricane, or none at all of the earthquake? I know The Mormons plan for this kind of thing, but really?

My whole point is that if the emergency is acute then 'the poor' are the least likely to be able to cope with sudden price rises. Or can the poor stockpile in anticipation of an emergency that's not even certain to happen? I don't think so - the poor are in no such position, they're already struggling. Even if they were able, then the relatively wealthy are in an even better position to stockpile and, thus, it's the poor that are bound to lose out, if any, from price-gouging.

The idea being presented here is that high prices leave food on the shelves for the poor during an emergency. That's demonstrable nonsense, as the wealthy are much better equipped to strip the highly-priced shelves.
__________________
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 9/11 truth is a clock with no hands." - Beachnut
GlennB is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:41 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.