Saturday, August 23, 2014

price gouging and overcharging.2.

i think price gouging might have something to do with equitability. some people think its unfair to discriminate who needs water, for example, more by how much someone is willing to pay for it.

people think the dehydrated poor person who cannot afford $1000 for a bottle of mineral water is more deserving(needs it more) of the water than a rich person who is going to use that bottle of water to shampoo his/her dogs.

but that is actually similar to how water is often priced. there are pricing tiers. which to me seems that we want to enable poor people to be able to afford water.

but only to a limited extent. our idea of equitability does not extend to the next price tier, nor does it appear to extend to those who cannot pay at all.

assuming we think everybody deserves a certain amount of water, up to a point where we think they're wasting it, why make people pay at all for that first tier?

this doesn't just apply to water. all other goods and services that people think "price gouging" when prices increase, why not have a base level of consumption that is guaranteed to be free?

it could be implemented by giving coupons to everyone that pay for such goods.

but then maybe there will be some who think this setup will be "abused" by people who will then sell the coupons or the goods bought with the coupons.

when a person who believes they need something else more than the goods bought with the coupons is deemed to be abusing the system, then i feel that is a separate issue altogether - those who think that behaviour is abuse feel that they are better appraisers of what other people need than those other people themselves. hubris much?

on the other hand, if such abusive behaviour actually occurs, then perhaps we can accept that. after which the next thing to do is to accept that we cannot decide for others what goods, and how much of those goods, they need. at which point we might as well give everyone a basic income that can afford the minimum amount of water, food, fuel, shelter or whatever that we feel can be susceptible to price gouging.

from Lizard's Ghost

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