Hurricane Harvey and the Failure of the Free Market
Paul Constant
3K66

There is no arguing with the logic of the market, though. True, when prices temporarily rise, poor people cannot afford the price. But when prices are held artificially low and supply is limited, people tend to buy more than they need (especially when disaster threatens). Once supplies run out, no goods can be had for any price. High prices, however, moderate demand. This allows more people to get the goods (albeit at a higher price — and only if they can afford the higher price).

While this obviously shuts poorer people out of the market and decreases good will among the purchasers forced to pay more, it also provides an incentive for suppliers to move goods into the market where prices are higher — thus increasing supply and eventually bringing prices down from the temporary price spike.

This is not a failure.

While I am sure there are generous mosques and perhaps Joel Osteen was not as generous as you might have liked, there are plenty of people of various faiths (or no faith) who gave generously to help those in need. The suggestion that the choices are between a mosque and Joel Osteen seems geared to criticize those of a particular faith or to imply hypocrisy among Christians that does not exist among Muslims. I think this is probably misleading.

Finally, I would point out a fifth course of action that you did not mention. One can prepare for hurricanes well in advance and pay normal prices for goods. This is less easy to do with commodities like fuel, but is universally recommended for those who live in states where hurricanes occur. One cannot live in any southern state without being warned in a variety of ways (TV, radio, utility bill flyers) how to prepare for a hurricane by stocking up on water, flashlights & batteries, non-perishable food, etc. Preparing can be as simple as filling the (clean) bathtub with water in anticipation of the water and electric supply being interrupted. It may come as a surprise to the modern, young reader, but water can be consumed from a variety of receptacles — not just from water bottles.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Robert White’s story.