Price gouging and the hurricane

Posted By: Jerry Agar · 10/31/2012 5:57:00 PM

Whenever a disaster limits resources, or changes the need for resources, politicians look for prices to rise, and then pounce on the merchants with accusations of price gouging.

It is a great political trick because the politician knows that the economically ignorant will react with emotion in favour of the politician. But pandering to ignorant emotion is the worst way to form public policy.

I have taken this issue up on the air, and to my pleasant surprise, many people have written to me with positive feedback. But the ones who have argued that I am a horrible person who hates the poor, have NO economic argument to offer. They sent emotional rants about how horible I am. When I asked them to offer an economic argument on how I was wrong, they sent more juvenile rantings.

You know what the problem is? Those people probably vote.

Read up. Here is a piece from a fabulous eonomist, Thomas Sowell.

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  1. Jeff McPhee posted on 11/01/2012 11:50 AM
    Hi Jerry as usually your arguement is common sense. The econmist you quoted also makes common sense. Always a pleasure to listen to you.
  2. Mike R posted on 11/01/2012 10:07 PM
    I do not believe that you hate the poor nor do I believe you are a horrible person. What I do want to share is that business people profit best from establishing on-going relationships with their customers. Maybe you can "price gouge" once . . . but there is not an endless supply of customers that don't have other options. Customers will come back if you treat them fairly. There is more profit in a repeat customer than in taking the maximum in one transaction due to the customer having no other choice.

    This balances out what you have expressed on-air that I agree with.
  3. SteveB_10 posted on 11/05/2012 12:05 PM
    As usual Jerry your world is one manufactured by rehtoric. The real world does not operate simply, and letting people die to prove a point is good Strausian ecomomics, but it does the real world great harm.
  4. Walcott posted on 11/08/2012 09:22 AM usual Mr. Agar you form an extreme opinion based in some scary quasi-reality most of the rah-rah-rabid members of the GOP's tea-party or our country's own neo-conservative OLP think tanks. the case of a natural disaster on North American soil where immediate assistance is needed and its a matter of selling existing/surviving goods your supposed economic reaction sees the price of said items to rise because circumstances warrant an inflated price due to a surge in demand...however, if the items in question are already on-the-ground and in place, how is that logical?

    Unless the actual supply or manufacturing chain is seriously damaged or broken there is NO GOOD REASON why a store should charge $20 for a normally $6 pack of batteries, or a hotel rent a room for $200 when it normally would do so for $80. In a relatively short period of time supplies will roll in, help will arrive, new supplies will flow - - - it's one of the advantages to living in the 1st world.

    No...I don't think you hate poor people, nor do I think you're a horroble person. I believe you're a right-wing Joe-the-plumber kind of act Astral dug up and put on the air to incite for ratings; which is good business.

    All your arguments seem to be based on your notion of how things should be, with little regard for how things are and what steps practically need to be taken to make improvements. You're quick to point out what makes you mad - stir up the listeners and then state how things should be. You routinely miss or intentionally skip all the steps in between.

    You made an observation during the election of President Obama the other night that you felt Americans were stupid and that you were sad. Well, you are sad.

    Extreme Right Wing views are exclusionary and offer knee-jerk "take that" policies meant to snub the other guy and have been shown time and time again to cause more strife and hardship - not less.

    The United States is dealing with the mess left from 8 years of GOP goodtimes. A meltdown in '08 which rocked the world (initiated by those GOP policies which allowed banks and corporations to rake in profit unchecked with no regard to long term effects and apparently no regard for legalities).... in Ontario the much hated Liberal party came to power after 8 glorious wonderful profitable years of the Common Sense Revolution (what? you mean milk and honey didn't flow down the streets and you're not all millionaires??) to try and piece this Province back together...

    ...and you feel that your position and the position held by those on the extreme right is the way to go?

    These are scary times. Scary because the nonsense and fantastic rantings you and your ilk have been spewing have so muddied the Political discussion in North America that the real issues have become over shadowed. The Tea-Party yahoos had your shot down south and you screwed-up. You were and are wrong. The Neo-Cons here in Ontario had a 10 point lead going into the Oct '11 election and managed to screw that up because the voters in the GTA at least remebered the havoc the Harris years caused the actual working-class.

    All the "RIGHT" has managed to do in the last 4 years both in the USA and here in Ontario is block any meaningful momentum towards positive policy development with rhetoric and hard-line non-sense.

    I'm truly afraid of what might happen if all the frenzied listeners that feel your baseless emotional rantings somehow qualify as intelligent politics decide that extremist views are what's needed to address the vast and complex political reality facing North America.
    1. Wallyfan posted on 11/08/2012 10:59 AM
      @Walcott ...olp?

      Think you mean ola - Ontario landowners association, they changed the name after confusion with the Ontario Libs.
  5. Diana posted on 11/09/2012 09:37 AM
    Dear Jerry, I think you are correct most of the time.
    Too bad not all ot the time.

    I like the way you stand up and bring out the truth regarding the Mayor.
    Good that you are standing . I would highly recommend a wisper quiet Rebounder in your office or open space area.
    Simply bouncing daily for 3 minutes will address the heart fat will become a non isssue.

    It would be good if the Mayor of Toronto would seek out my expertise. It amazes me how he has lasted this long without a stroke or heart attack.

    Keep on being exceptionally great and honest.
    Please check out my Squat or not to Squat .........article
  6. Patrick posted on 11/16/2012 09:59 AM
    it's true the Post Office is a labour intensive organization. What your guest failed to mention is that unlike the US POst Office, Canada Post has been profitable for the last 17 years. Only this past lockout year (sound familiar NHL?) was it not profitable. It was ordered by the court to make a large gender payment discrimination payment, and ran out of time when it was ordered to stop stalling and make a $800 million payment to the employees pension plan which it had been undercutting for years. Thank God for unions or the employees would have been screwed. When/if it goes down it will take 60,000 better than average paying jobs out of the economy, many which are in smaller Canadian communities.
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