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The Grapes of Wrath Collection

A series of articles which demonstrate the ideas of The Grapes of WRath

‘Price Gouging’ After a Disaster Is Good for the Public

‘Price Gouging’ After a Disaster Is Good for the Public

Boudreux's article posits that price gouging is actually a good idea in the face of disaster. He asserts that if prices rise in the face of calamity, suppliers will have an incentive to bring supplies to a place. Without those incentives, Boudreux believes that supplies will disappear and victims of natural disaster will not receive necessities as needed. Boudreux also asserts that if prices are high, people are more likely to ration their use of desired items, and therefore leave more items for others, rather than hoarding them.
While I understand his argument and agree to a point, often people who have experienced natural disasters are in no position to pay ANY amount--gouged or otherwise. By allowing gouging governments reward people who were already in less perilous positions. For instance, in Louisiana it was the poor people who were unable to evacuate before Katrina's landfall. Increasing prices on people who already lived without is unconscionable.
From Bordreux's article I glean that he is fiscally conservative and a fan of the strongest forms of capitalism and trickle down economics.
This article directly correlates to The Grapes of Wrath because in the novel, families like the Wilsons and the Joads are living as a means of subsistence; they have no room for luxuries or goods which are priced above typical market value. Characters in the novel are frequently taken advantage of--we see this is prices for vehicles and food--and the people who are taken advantage of cannot pay higher prices and often perish.

wsj.com