Uma leitura obrigatória sobre o tema: Post-Sandy: A Man-Made Disaster.
Hurricane Sandy caused the closing of a majority of the gasoline stations in the New York City area, did major damage to petroleum terminals, and reduced the ability of barges carrying fuel to reach their docks. All of this represented a substantial reduction in the supply of gasoline and other petroleum products in the New York metropolitan area. None of it was the cause of ashortage of gasoline or any other petroleum product, a shortage which New York’s Mayor Bloomberg can think of no better means of alleviating than by imposing a system of gasoline rationing. (See the New York Times, November 9, 2012.)
In a free market, the effect of a good’s becoming scarcer is not to cause a shortage of it, but a rise in its price. The rise in price serves to reduce the amount of the good buyers seek to buy to a point that is within the limit of the reduced supply available. However much the supply of oil and oil products was reduced by the hurricane, it was certainly not reduced to anywhere even remotely near the normal, everyday degree of scarcity in the supply of such things as gold or diamonds. And yet there is no shortage of gold or diamonds. Whoever is willing and able to pay the market price of these goods has no difficulty in obtaining them. But if our government officials, inspired perhaps by some such belief as that everyone should be able to obtain gold and diamond jewelry at an affordable price, decreed that the price of gold and diamonds should be cut in half, say, then, indeed, there would be shortages of gold and diamonds alongside the present shortages of gasoline in New York and New Jersey.
Even goods of which there is just a single specimen, such as a Rembrandt painting, are not in a state of shortage. When such a good is put up for auction, its price rises as high as necessary to reduce the number of bidders to just one. In the face of the high price, all the other bidders give up and walk away. They do not remain in the auction room for hours still waiting to buy the painting. They know that the price is just too high for them. But imagine an auction in which the auctioneer was prohibited from progressively raising the price until only one buyer remained. Imagine that he was compelled to hold to his first or second offer. In that case, the auction room might remain packed indefinitely.
What all this implies is that the shortages of gasoline now being experienced in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere in the path of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy simply do not need to exist. They could be made to disappear very quickly, within a matter of hours. All that would be necessary is to remove the threat of prosecution of gas station owners, and all others in the chain of supply of gasoline, for raising their prices to the extent necessary to reduce the quantity of gasoline demanded to conform with the reduced supply of it available.
Confronted with such a price — possibly one as high as $10 or $20 a gallon, or even higher, given the apparent extent of the reduction in the supply of gasoline — many of the drivers of the cars presently waiting in line at gas stations, would simply drive off, park their cars, and make arrangements for alternative means of transportation, whether car pooling, bicycle riding, or whatever. Almost everyone would curtail his driving commensurate with the higher cost of driving. No one would drive into a gas station who was not prepared to pay the then-prevailing very high price of gasoline. The people who needed gasoline for such urgent purposes as getting to work, but who could not afford to pay such a sharply higher price, would not be in nearly as bad a position as needing gasoline to get to work and being simply unable to find it, or find it only after waiting in line for three hours. Such people could car pool and spread the high price of gasoline over as many of them as could reasonably fit in an automobile. The environmentalists, who seem to desire that such arrangements become a normal, everyday occurrence, should welcome this chance to see the achievement of their goal, however temporarily.
What caused the shortages and stops them from being overcome in this way is the fact that the necessary rise in prices is illegal. It is against the law. According to a Bloomberg news release of November 9, 2012, “New Jersey law defines price gouging as an ‘excessive price increase,’ or of 10 percent or more, during a declared state of emergency.” The same news article also reports that “New York law prohibits selling goods or services for an ‘unconscionably excessive price’ during ‘abnormal disruption of the market.'”
Thus state laws are what make it impossible for the market immediately to put an end to the shortages. It is these state laws that allowed the shortages to come into existence in the first place, by prohibiting the immediate rise in prices that would have prevented them, and that then make the shortages persist.
The same state laws make it impossible for the market speedily to restore supplies to their normal level, which would serve quickly to bring down prices from their abnormal heights.
É preferível pagar 5x o preço normal ou esperar dias pela reposição dos depósitos?
Em locais geridos por pessoas normais, um consumidor tinha a escolha: ou aceitava o “roubo” ou esperava dias pelo preço normal.
(e claro que o preço supra-normal faria muitos distribuidores de gasolina abastecer Nova Iorque, mesmo que vindo de muito longe e ficando-lhes mais cara a operação em combustíveis e horas extras).
Em locais geridos por esquerdalha do pior, é obrigatório cair na 2ª categoria. Independentemente do que tivesse para fazer nesses dias.