Purell and simple | AspenTimes.com

Purell and simple

I dare you to find hand sanitizer in stock at any store or any online merchant. Why? When demand spiked because of the corona dude, merchants and producers held prices at non-crisis levels. They were cowed by accusations of price gouging. They chose avoidance of ignorant public outrage over allowing the price mechanism to perform its dual magic of deterring hoarding and increasing production. It’s why areas facing predicted hurricanes reliably run out of gasoline and fresh water.

Contrast this with times when oil prices spike due to this or that Mideast crisis. Except for Richard Nixon, the feds have refused to regulate pricing or even (mostly) to criticize oil companies. They’ve let the pricing mechanism work its magic. We never run out of gas in a crisis, but Purell might as well be extinct.

Maurice Emmer


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