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Reason on the Radar

As I was watching Hurricane Katrina swirl toward Florida (or, more specifically, as I'm watching Wolf Blitzer watch it on the Situation Room's totally bitchin' wall o' TVs), I was inspired to post some post-storm wisdom from Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and Justin Marshall, over at Townhall.

Williams' and Sowell's pieces are delightful, as usual, and all are helpful in refuting the idea that disaster areas should abandon the free market just when they need it most.

In slightly related news, if you're hankering for that late-70s line at the gas pump, try Hawaii, which has instituted price controls on gasoline.

Mary Katharine blogs at Townhall, and is thankful for the opportunity Wizbang! gives her to write about herself in third person every now and then.

Comments (8)

price controls? ok now you'... (Below threshold)

price controls? ok now you're going to see tons of lines at the pump with fewer gas stations able to compete in the market. Ask anyone who lives in New York about rent controls and what it does to the ability to find an apartment.

Hawaii Prediction:... (Below threshold)

Hawaii Prediction:

1. State freezes controls
2. Oil companies lower supply
3. State must subsidize oil companies to increase supply
4. State passes cost of that on to citizens in form of taxes
5. Gas prices stay the same, taxes rise.

This is especially delicious because it means people who ride bikes or drive hybrids will be subsidizing people who drive SUVs via taxes.

We already have a case stud... (Below threshold)

We already have a case study. In Guangdong, China.

What is oil sold for versus... (Below threshold)

What is oil sold for versus the price it takes to be pulled from the ground? If there's a large disparity between those, market forces aren't working like they should.

jpm100: Market for... (Below threshold)


Market forces don't determine the retail price of something based on production costs, but on demand. If I could wave a magic wand and replace oil as an energy source with hydrogen, for example, the price of oil would go into the toilet, and the price of hydrogen would skyrocket, unless enough new, cheap sources of oil came online to undercut the price of hydrogen. And even that would take decades, just as it's going to take decades to replace oil.

Market forces? Oil is contr... (Below threshold)

Market forces? Oil is controlled by a CARTEL.

Anyway, with The Dukes of Hazard and The Bad News Bears in theaters, and Jimmy Carter still running around making idiotic foreign policy statements, I'm half-inclined to begin taking Hustle lessons and re-memorizing the words to Gloria Gaynor songs, just in case...

Thanks for the heads... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the heads-up, those two columns are classics.


Oil is controlled by a C... (Below threshold)

Oil is controlled by a CARTEL.

Not very well, apparently, because the recent surge can't really be traced to OPEC.

A surge in demand from emerging middle classes in India and China (which together make up more than a third of the world's population) appears to have inspired oil futures speculators to bid up the price.

Whenever the pendulum swings in one direction, it swings back, and the bigger the initial swing, the greater the backswing. Even OPEC knows this, and they've seen how even oil demand can be suppressed in response to excessive action.

As for Fatman's assertion that...

Market forces don't determine the retail price of something based on production costs, but on demand.

Demand is a market force.






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