Pricing the Big One

This is a subject that really
troubles me, as someone of somewhat
fragile health it will be difficult
to survive after a major earthquake
if we revert to the stone age. The
anti price gouging laws instantly
make all the stuff in all the stores
unavailable. Not because the stuff
isn't still there, but because
prices are not allowed to rise
enough to make it attractive for
owners and employees to mind the
store instead of attending to
emergent personal issues. Then
there are all the issues of
attracting entrepeneurial rescuers,
both individual and corporate, and
incentivizing preparedness. The anti
greed laws are not going to go away.
It is a manner of religion that all
should suffer together and no none
benefit from the misfortune of
others. No arguing with religion. So
given that reality, can the
situation be mitigated. Maybe so.
Thepartial solution is dirty,
unpure and requires the involvement
of the political process, but
somehow we need to get some
allowance for market alleviation of
the consequences of the major
earthquake. Involving the present
power players and encouraging them
to make preplanned and precontracted
exceptions to the absolute maximum
prive rises. This planning power
could benefit the existing politicos
by giving them somethingt new to
fiddle with, but at the end of the
road at least some provision could
be made for some fexability in
prices. Labor could even be
attracted to the table, if say
Safeway agreed to quadraple wages
after an 8.0 or greater in exchange
for allowing for a doubling of
prives. Other ideas that might meet
some kind of politically vetted
process might be allowances for
companies that store vital supplies
such as iodine or water filters.
Companies that prepare emergency
petroleum import facilities might be
pemitted to charge 20 bucks a gallon
for diesel. It just seems to me
that some kind of commuuno faschist
politiclly vetted but market
oriented process to prevent the
complete breakdown of a market
economy after a big one is better
than sinking instanteously into the
stone age.. Legal liberation of the
post big one market would of course
be ideal, but it as an absolute non

My x liberal mind also came up with
another twist. A tax rebate to fund
post disaster cash. The rebate would
be in the form of traveller's
cheques declared valid after a
disaster. This way the poor would
have some cash too and maybe the
libs would let the market work. The
tax rebate thing is stupid stuff,
but prearanging for politically
vetted disaster induced pricing
adjustments may be a reasoable and
doable initiative for us along with
the lpca.

No one wants to take me
up on this one, then I will do
it myself...The lefties
immediatly get thier hair up
on this and start screaming
greed. Where is the greed.
Perhaps the greed is on the
part of the middle majority
who wants to clear the
playing field of theperceived
advantage of being rich.But
one can imagine many
scenarios where not
allowing market pricing of
catastrophe to hurt the poor
and middle class while for
the government aid that
may not come until it is too
late for many. Money
pouring in in the form of aid
from the rest of the country
could be used to attract
private help. The possibility
of higher prices would
attract resources to be
allocated for preparation,
the availability would
alleviate much suffering.
The functioning of a market
economy would reduce the
perceived need andprofit in
resorting to violence and
intimidation in acquiring
essentials. Imagine a
middle class guy who
happens to own a
generator. He wants to
keep ti to keep his beer
cool. Imagine at the same
time a rich man, amiddle
class woman, and a poor
child needing dialysis, but
there is no power to run the
machine. The red cross
flush with donations from
across the world but unable
to move generators in
quickly wants to offer the
man 5000 bucks for his
generator and the fuel to
run it, but can only offer him
400 because that is all the
law allows. The middle
class guy keeps his beer
cold. The three needing
dialysis suffer severe
permant damage once
fema finally shows up with
a Mash. Meanwhile the
home depot gets looted and
the generators inside taken
so the thieves can...It just
seems to me we can make
a good arguement that
allowing the market to work
is likely to be the most
compassionate path,
especially for those most in
need of urgent help.
Of course this assume that
money is available. The
banks need to be
questioned as to how they
plan to remain open after a
big one. The Bank Of
America especially needs to
have it's feet held to the fire
to make sure it is
committed to it's history of
historic reliability in thimes
of crisis in San Francisco.