COVID-19 Day 4: Hoarding isn’t Capitalism

Bare shelves caused COVID-19 panic buying, no wait. This is actually a photo of a store in Venezuela everyday.

Capitalism isn’t causing people to buy palettes of toilet paper and bottled water clearing shelves in COSTCO. Hoarding is not the dark-side of Capitalism. It is a human reaction to fear and scarcity that occurs in both Capitalist and Socialist systems.

Under Capitalism, these scarcities are few and far between; often caused my natural disasters. They are so rare and out-of-the-norm that these instances cause fear and panic of an unknown future. Price Gougers profit in the short-term but the prices return to normal when normal supplies return.

The difference is that under Socialism, the disasters are man-made. There, hoarding is a necessity and normal but illegal. Their shelves are routinely bare. Scarcity is so perpetual and commonplace as to not be shocking.

The population is resigned to standing in long lines in hopes of buying what few items are available that day. Interpersonal trade is banned or highly regulated (those activities are capitalism). Black Markets develop to allow people to trade their excess goods for goods they need or want, often at mark-ups that Price Gougers could only dream of.

 

Soviet Russia c. 1980’s

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