Episode 54 – Hurricane Harvey and price gouging in Houston

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Houston price gouging

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Hurricane Harvey has hit the Houston area and has brought with it huge amounts of rain.  The area has been hit hard and there is a great need for resources.  With people trying to stock up before the storm and with limited transportation for supplies after the storm, it’s difficult to keep the shelves stocked.  So prices of course go up.  People refer to this as price gouging and it usually makes for some cranky consumers.  People often call for the government to step in and place price controls on certain goods.  In their minds, the business owners are taking advantage of the natural disaster and are trying to wring as much money out of people as possible.  But we need to ask a few questions about this assertion.  Is it really greed that’s driving the rise in prices?  And regardless if the business owner is greedy, what happens if the prices aren’t raised?

But it won’t just be Houston and the surrounding area that’s affected by the price gouging.  The rest of the country is likely to see a spike in gasoline prices in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  The Gulf Coast is home to a large portion of oil production in the United States and 22% of the production has been halted due to the storm.  Are the oil companies being greedy or is it again simply economics in play?

Rollo and Slappy discuss price gouging in Houston and how we should not call for the state to deal with it.

Links
Price gouging during Hurricane Harvey: Up to $99 for a case of water, Texas AG says
10 refineries close as Harvey drenches Texas energy hub
We should be thankful for price gougers

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