Monday, September 17, 2012

Carden on Gouging.

The Dub-MOE asks us once again to consider the consequences of well-intentioned deontological objections to trade under harsh conditions in a Forbes article here.

Money quote:

I’ve come to think that there is an iron law of intervention: if you want to make a problem worse, pass a law to fix it. Price controls create shortages: when the price isn’t allowed to rise to coordinate the wants of buyers with the wants of sellers, shortages result. The cruel irony is that any “benefit” for those we are trying to help is frittered away because people who aren’t allowed to pay for something with their money will pay for it with their time. Passing a law doesn’t change what someone is willing to pay, but it changes how they pay.

I won't quibble over his use of the word "law" here, but note the crossover with paternalism again: it doesn't matter if we're protecting people against the misfortune of their situation or the regrettable consequences of their own foolishness, the default assumption is to run to the legislature for succor.

The triumph of hope over reason.

1 comment:

Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?