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1 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 2:53:29pm

I think the article makes a useful point. I don't like it, since it would be better if people were to bring in extra fuel out of altruism, but that seems unlikely to happen. So in regards to gasoline, gouging customers in a disaster area should probably be allowed to some degree.

2 lostlakehiker  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 4:30:16pm

I for one would welcome price gouging if I were trying to evacuate. I can see a number of scenarios.

(1) I have enough gas to get somewhere safe, but it's not where I really want to go. The price gouger has put the price up, so I settle for the second-rate destination which is nearer.

(2) I'm running out of gas. I'm desperate. The price gouger has gas for sale, and I buy it. Not much. Just enough to get me to somewhere safe.

(3) I have enough gas to get somewhere safe, but it's not where I really want to go. No price gouging is allowed, and the station has some left. I fill up and go on my way.

(4) I'm running out of gas. I'm desperate. No price gouging is allowed, and people like me but who got there first have already bought it out. I'm up the creek.

We are all, collectively, better off when prices signal scarcity. In a perfect world, price gouging would be allowed and indeed required, but taxes dedicated to disaster relief would scoop up 90% of the excess profits. Failing that, it's better to permit the price gouging even though the money just fattens somebody's coffers, than to forbid it and see fuel allocated frivolously on a first-come, first-serve basis.

3 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 5:23:28pm

re: #2 lostlakehiker

You left out:

(5) I'm running out of gas. I'm desperate. The government has an emergency supply of gas which it is rationing to as many drivers as possible so that they have just enough to get somewhere safe.

When essential supplies are scarce, they have to be rationed. When price gouging is allowed, the rich will get what they want and the poor (or the newly poor who have JUST LOST EVERYTHING) will get fucked.

Emergency survival supplies are like health care.

5 calochortus  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 7:00:40pm

re: #3 Sheila Broflovski

Heavens. I saw this bright idea (price gouging is good) on Free Republic earlier today and thought it was just a lone libertarian nut. Some "expert" is actually endorsing it?

Rationing sounds like a much better plan.

6 Destro  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 7:02:20pm

re: #5 calochortus

Heavens. I saw this bright idea (price gouging is good) on Free Republic earlier today and thought it was just a lone libertarian nut. Some "expert" is actually endorsing it?

Rationing sounds like a much better plan.

They are called "capitalists".

7 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 7:04:54pm

re: #3 Sheila Broflovski

You left out:

(5) I'm running out of gas. I'm desperate. The government has an emergency supply of gas which it is rationing to as many drivers as possible so that they have just enough to get somewhere safe.

When essential supplies are scarce, they have to be rationed. When price gouging is allowed, the rich will get what they want and the poor (or the newly poor who have JUST LOST EVERYTHING) will get fucked.

Emergency survival supplies are like health care.

Honestly, for fuel its better if the price is allowed to go up. Yes, it screws the very poor over, but the middle and upper classes are able to get when they need because suppliers have a greater incentive to provide supply. You don't have to allow prices to go through the roof, but I would suggest allowing a 50% 'crisis markup' for fuel. That would give suppliers the incentive they'll want.

It's not a good solution, but it's solution that provides the needed self-interest to get suppliers to deliver gasoline from distant locations. In many ways, that they need that incentive to act makes them assholes, but given the fact that they are assholes, offering them an incentive makes sense.

8 Destro  Thu, Nov 1, 2012 10:06:40pm

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

Honestly, for fuel its better if the price is allowed to go up. Yes, it screws the very poor over

The Republican/GOP/Conservative ideology in a nutshell. On behalf of the poor, fuck you.

9 calochortus  Fri, Nov 2, 2012 8:40:13am

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

No, that is a solution that allows you to get what you want. It is not better overall. As I understand it, one of the biggest problems is the lack of power to pump gas. Higher prices won't speed up the return of electrical services.

Additionally, people who can afford to pay more may, in fact, buy more gas than they need, just in case the price goes higher later. We recently had a spike in prices in CA because of refinery issues. People sat in line to pay $4.79 for regular because they were afraid the price would go higher still. It is now back down to around $4 and there aren't lines.

10 Aligarr  Fri, Nov 2, 2012 3:57:29pm

Oh yea , sing the praises of unethical capitalism , forget them classes on Social responsibility evry MBA were exposed to [for lack of a better word ]. Now let's get Gordon Gekko to take center stage , and encourage the masses " GREED IS GOOD " .


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