Those on the Left think raising prices during a disaster is cruel.

And those on the Right think raising prices in a disaster will save lives.

Notice how the two sides are concerned about different things.

On the Left, some are primarily concerned with being seen to care (I think it’s called virtue-signalling?), and presumably some genuinely believe that if you just care enough all will be well – motives are all that matter.

On the Right, people are generally a bit more hard-headed – they care less about being seen to care, and primarily care about what actually works.

Look at the recent price controls on water, for example.

The Left worry that raising prices during a disaster will mean some won’t be able to afford the water and many will die.

The Right worry that without raising prices during a disaster, the water will be cheap enough for the guy at the front of the queue to buy it all, and many will die.

It’s important to note that both sides have the same goal – preventing deaths.

But their solutions are very different.

Here the Left fall down every time – when the Right disagrees with their solutions, it is claimed they disagree with their goals.

We should pause at this point to acknowledge what a terrible lie this is.

Disagreeing with solutions does NOT necessarily mean disagreeing with goals. We ALL want to feed the starving and water the thirsty. We just disagree about HOW.

Yet when the Right question the solutions on the Left, they get called evil.

Whereas when the Left question the solutions on the Right, they merely get called moronic.

Incidentally, this is why the Left are so politically unscrupulous and are generally willing to embrace any tactic, no matter how unethical – the Right only believes it is trying to educate morons, but the Left believes it is trying to conquer evil.

Notwithstanding, the Right will contend that if prices rise, the number of entrepreneurial people scrambling to get all that lovely money will ensure a ready supply of water into the disaster zone.

The Left contend that keeping the price low will mean everyone will be able to afford the water, without noticing that keeping water cheap will mean the supply vanishes immediately and there is almost no-one new willing to supply it.

After all, would you drive 1000 miles with a trunk full of bottled water on the off-chance you’ll be able to sell it and make just enough to cover your gas? If the answer is Yes then congratulations, you are one of the virtue-signallers we talked about earlier.

But there will be no shortage of “greedy bastards” willing to drive 1000 miles if they know they’ll be able to make $10,000 from their trunk full of water.

So do we want the occasional saint delivering water, or a horde of sinners?

If you were dying of thirst, would you want to see a sad hippy with no water left, willing to commiserate with you? Or a horde of greedy capitalists with their cars packed with water?

And this is why greed is good and capitalism works – it is the only economic system that we have found that does not rely on people to be kind (which they sadly do in too few numbers to save us ALL) but instead has found a way to turn their greed (of which there is sadly no shortage) into a system that CAN save us all (economically speaking)

So the Left wishes the world was lovely, and wishes it so fervently it would rather fail and die, whereas the Right accepts the world is NOT lovely and always looks to focus on what actually saves lives.

We see this again and again, and the Left never learn – they just demonise their opponents who then sigh heavily and try again and again to educate a new generation about how the real world is not as intuitive and straightforward as they imagine. Sadly, there is no shortage of those old enough to know better fighting to mis-educate the next generation.

Look at Polly Toynbee.

P.S – Weirdly, allowing the price of water to rise and ensuring that a supply of it is available to everyone rather than just the guy who was at the front of the queue is actually highly redistributive! The Left have overlooked this, as the vector is not money but time – they can’t understand that being rich enough to buy the water is just like arriving early enough to buy the water.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. After all, would you drive 1000 miles with a trunk full of bottled water on the off-chance you’ll be able to sell it and make just enough to cover your gas? If the answer is Yes then congratulations, you are one of the virtue-signallers we talked about earlier.

    BY definition if you do this you are not a virtue signaller. You actually have driven across country with a lot of water which you sold at below-market prices. That makes you virtuous. Not merely someone who signals that they are virtuous.

    The sensible compromise between the Right and the Left is that we agree to give people a lot of money when disaster strikes. Preferably through insurance. But if the Left wants to throw some shekels into play, good for them. Then the Right will make sure trucks turn up with lots of water. However in the long run we need to avoid the Haitian problem. So the victims probably should be doing some sort of public works for the cash.

  2. I agree with the analysis and SMFS point, but I do also see a secondary complaint to free market prices for water in disaster circumstances. But it’s still true that the visceral reaction to a spike in prices for fundamentals of life, may not be i’ll try again tomorrow, hopefully some greedy bastard will have got here with some more water.

  3. If there is a need for water in a disaster zone and the best way to supply such a basic need a is through pricing signals that shows a failure and of government, not markets.

    There isn’t much we need government to do and get right but emergency relief had to be up there with the most important.

  4. In your water shortage example, I suspect the Left would say they would ration the water. The guy at the front would not be allowed to buy all the water, even if he had the money. This may have beneficial effects on the demand side, but does nothing for supply. But again, the Left think the state should step in. But that hasn’t always ended well, has it?

    • So coercively socializing the water supply will inevitably lead to new problems, to be solved by additional coercion.

      No, it does nothing for supply, but the experts at coercion are equally willing to coerce suppliers (who are now “public utilities”) to continue supplying to the emergency zone, despite the difficulty of operating there and the simplicity and additional profit of delivering outside the emergency zone.

      There is nothing you can socialize, to make socialism work, short of everything.

    • Socialists would wait until the capitalists arrived in the disaster zone with trunks full of water for sale, seize them at gunpoint, and then redistribute them to the people for free, basking in the admiration of the people for their charitable generosity.

      Then when the capitalists heard about it and stopped coming, *then* they would ration the water. And blame the shortages on the capitalists for their “tax dodging” and either fine them or put them all in the gulag/jail.

  5. Reminds me of what happened at Malapascua after that huge typhoon hit the Philippines a few years back.

    The island was hit right in the middle of it and proper destroyed although luckily no one was killed. Clean water was shipped to the island for the locals to get for free. The boats dumped it on the south beach. The locals from the south village grabbed the lot and flogged it to the locals in the north. (The island is only like a couple of miles long too lol).

    My mate who runs a dive shop there was livid.

  6. ‘Notwithstanding, the Right will contend that if prices rise, the number of entrepreneurial people scrambling to get all that lovely money will ensure a ready supply of water into the disaster zone.’

    No, the Clinton Foundation will get there first, and get all the lovely money.

  7. In the recent California fires thousands of homes were destroyed. Not surprisingly, the demand for rentals skyrocketed. Many rental costs would be covered by insurance. Landlords have been cracked down upon by the authorities for accepting high offers from insurance companies.

  8. I don’t see the problem here. Formula One interests few people and they are not wanting to force their decision on other activities. I notice the Tour De France loses the publicity girls this year too – that was worth 2000 Euro for 3 weeks surprisingly hard work with all exes paid for about 12 women.
    The market will decide though if the organisers have made bad decisions.
    Other sports, Rugby League with its cheerleaders for example, might be asked to wind up their glamorous supporter operations, and will get a reply to the effect that if you don’t like it then don’t watch. And they can be directed to the sports named at the top.