Ring of Conservative Sites Ring of Conservative Sites

[ Prev | Skip Prev | Prev 5 | List |
Rand | Next 5 | Skip Next | Next ]

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Want To Live Where There Is Price-Gouging

You do not get to buy apples, milk, napkins, muffins, coffee at the store because a politician allows you to. You get to buy these things and more because people risked their money, time and effort to provide these items for a price. The whole transaction is voluntary. It is not involuntary just because you do not wish to expend the same money, time and risk to do it for yourself. Because that is what you choose, your purchase was totally voluntary.

Christopher Westley takes issue in "The Right To Set Your Own Price" with the fact that Jason McBride is liable for ciminal charges for charging $3.50 per gallon for gas. Writes Westley:

McBride was arrested last week for violating the Alabama Unconscionable Pricing Act. This is Alabama's "anti-gouging" law, and it makes criminals out of gas station owners who "generally charge a price which is 25 percent higher than the average price during the last 30 days prior to [a] declared emergency unless attributable to reasonable cost factors."

If you were to ask me to stand on my head for 5 hours and you would pay me $1,000 to watch me do it, where is the illegality of this agreement? Well, there may be an official somewhere who could make this arrangement illegal. Force me to only charge $500 for the event. The reason may be that "anyone could do it" or "it's stupid" or any other reason. But the transaction was totally voluntary, so why is it illegal?

Writes Westley:

[These laws] hinder the price system's ability to send signals to consumers and producers. They promote the use of resources in ways that are wasteful. They allow politicians to score points on the economic illiteracy of the masses. In the midst of a disaster situation, they cause shortages, slow the recovery process, and extend suffering.

But there is another objection that, in my opinion, trumps all of these.

They also violate the property rights of owners of scarce resources, such as gasoline. The gas station owners, not public authorities, are the ones who risk their capital in order to satisfy customers. They are the ones who hire labor, set contracts with suppliers, and organize resources so as to provide goods to customers via voluntary exchange. They should be able to charge whatever prices they want.

That's why Jason McBride should have been able to charge $5.00 or more a gallon for gas if he wanted. Or he could have given it away for free. Or he could have stacked it up in one-gallon cans, placed a table cloth over it, and had a picnic. After all, it was his property.

The harm in these anti-price-gouging laws fall on the citizen producers and consumers. To prohibit us from being able to control our own lives regarding what we want to do, how hard we wish to work, how willing are we to take risk, takes away our liberty over our bodies-our primary property.


At 7:50 PM, Blogger CapitalistPig said...

I find all of this "price gouging" talk from our elected leaders and the media extremely disturbing. I thought the results of price ceiling on gasoline was settled back in the 70's. Price ceilings were imposed, and there were long lines and shortages just as classic micro-economics predicts. Issue closed.

If anything seeing politicians advocate price-cielings and the confiscation of oil company profits (which are hovering around a whopping 8% ROI...), has made me aware of how nieve I am. Somehow, I thought we had advanced since that era and become less socialist. But gas-station owners being thrown in jail? This along with the Kelo vs New London decision and Bush's domestic spending makes me realize that I am wrong. We have actually become more socialist and less capatilist in the past 20 some-odd years which is sad.

I blame our state-controlled education system. I think it has become in incubator for socialistic thinking. Unless our politicians somehow find a way to provide school-choice I don't see the tide turning any time soon.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger neal phenes said...

The socialist thinking has been fed to us for the past century from teachers who have benefitted from the program. They are suspicious of capitalism because of its reward system. With reward comes penalty. And the market can be seemingly frivolous. And that is why they pass laws outlawing what they see as frivilous- more than frivolous, actually dastardly.

Then they all crow to their friends about what a deal they got on a vacation trip, TV or computer. How they sold their house for $25,000 more than they ever thought they would get when they first put it on the market.

Hey, they do say the word "market" and take advantage of it whenever. They are the official NIMBYs.

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

I did a search for southwest gas and found this site. I have put together an ebook I have titled, "Huge Gas Pump Savings."


At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP Ip video conferencing software Sticky back for blackberry http://www.jeff-gordon-bedroom-bean-bag-chairs.info/verizon-blackberry-6750-redirect-download.html free parental access control to int hugo+boss+aftershave

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » »

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP Oxford health plans sodium phenylbutyrate http://www.adult-movies-0.info/bikini-picture-rating.html cancer Top 10 gay sites cancer prostate treatment


Post a Comment

<< Home

Ring of Conservative Sites Ring of Conservative Sites

[ Prev | Skip Prev | Prev 5 | List |
Rand | Next 5 | Skip Next | Next ]