17 Mar 2020


Potpourri 5 Comments

==> Robert Bryce has a nice obit on Freeman Dyson.

==> Linked from Bryce, here is Dyson’s 2007 essay on his heretical thoughts.

==> Piketty drops the mask

==> Tyler Cowen gives us another hint that he’s a closet Austrian.

==> Everybody hates market prices in a pandemic, even conservatives.

==> The Fed has eliminated reserve requirements (last section).

5 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Khodge says:

    Re: price gouging.
    I’ve been trying to work this out and have not come to an answer. “Price gouging” in a hurricane is truly market forces while the price gouging here is market manipulation. I think donating it to the poor is an even worse solution.

    Market manipulation gives a false maladjustment signal to the market, causing an inappropriate recession. As it happens, some stores responded by rationing – totally appropriate if you really want to meet your customers’ needs – while others responded by taking the first money, alienating their loyal customers.

    I think, kind of, that government intervention might be okay because the manipulators are taking a gamble and they just lost. Not a big deal.

    Under no circumstances would I consider the manipulates good people.

  2. Khodge says:

    Re: Piketty
    I was unable to make it past the first chapter of Capital. I’m not ready for the second book.

    Let me know when he works his way to Austrian.

  3. Harold says:

    The price rise in hand sanitizer allows small manufacturers to produce at a higher price which may be economic for them This increases the supply and is surely a good thing. This is different from buying existing stock and selling at a higher price, which does not increase the supply overall.

  4. Tel says:

    On the topic of market prices … what’s the general opinion on this one?


    It’s totally impossible to buy hand sanitizer here at the moment, you can’t buy anything containing isopropyl alcohol, even the methylated spirits has gone from the hardware stores. So it’s understandable that a lot of Australians are grumpy to know that quite a lot of the things you can’t buy were bulk shipped over to China.

    The shipping to China was all legal of course, they purchased these items fair and square, but government puts pressure on stores to discourage them raising prices so in a way government is responsible for the empty shelves. There isn’t actually a rule preventing price rises in Australia … but there are many ways for government inspectors to destroy your business if you attract the wrong kind of attention. Some stores put voluntary rationing into place and refused to fill large orders. That’s their choice of course, but easily bypassed by anyone willing to place repeated small orders.

    Archie Rose gin mill started converting the “heads” and “tails” from their pot still into hand sanitizer.


    Available at an “artisanal” price … I guess I will have to buy some … in the worst case might make a good keepsake to remind us of everything.

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