Raymond C. Niles, a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and assistant professor of economics and management at DePauw University, is petitioning politicians to repeal laws against “price gouging.” He writes that such laws are “a form of price control” that “cause[s] the shortages of the very products that can ensure our health and survival during this coronavirus epidemic, such as masks, sanitizers, gloves, testing kits, and other essential medical, hygiene, and food supplies.”
If suppliers were free to adjust their prices to reflect demand, he points out, shortages would be far less common, and supplies would be replenished quickly because companies would have both greater means and incentives to ramp up production. This is an instance of the law of supply and demand, “a basic principle learned in any introductory economics class, yet it is a lesson forgotten in statehouses and courtrooms and homes and businesses across the country.”
More than one hundred fifty people have signed the petition, including more than eighty who hold PhDs in economics, and Niles is sending it to the governors of the thirty-six states where these laws are in effect, as well as to President Trump and select state and federal legislators.
If you recognize and want to protect the rights of producers and traders to act on their judgment, which will, in turn, enable them to produce and sell the products we all need during this pandemic, please sign and share Niles’s petition. And, if you live in a state that has these laws, please contact your governor and legislators today.
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