Apr

20

"Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services Partner to Distribute More Than Half a Million Medical Supplies Confiscated from Price Gougers"

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

The speculator as hero. The siege of Antwerp.

Rudolf Hauser writes: 

For the private sector to inventory supplies, etc. for potential future periods of shortages requires a return for their investment and the risk that such shortages will never happen. Someone or some organization should be able to charge higher prices during such a shortage so that they precautionary investment will be rewarded. That will encourage such future behavior to be warranted. There also is a worthwhile function when someone buys large amounts in areas with adequate supply in order to make then available in areas of shortages.

From a demand standpoint, pricing insures that those who get the most value from a scarce product will be buyers when it comes to most goods and services.

But things are different when after a crisis is clearly at hand, someone purchases large amounts with the intention of cornering a market and selling at inflated prices. Nor is price a fair distribution mechanism when it is a matter of life and death and it would have maximum utility for all and the ability to purchase is limited by the means to pay at one's disposal. The most basic human right is the right to survival in oth non-human animal world and in the human world. Any enforcement against price gouging should be limited to such agents, not those who purchased before a crisis situation was well known. Nor should agents who purchased before a crisis be forced to sell at any point in time. It is in their advantage to sell when the shortage is greater. If they hold off selling, it may be because they see an even greater need in the future, and they might just be right. In that case society would be better off if they hold off selling. When the future is so uncertain, better more judgements than fewer making such decisions. 


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