Letters to the Editor: October 2004

by | Oct 18, 2004

October 18, 2004 Prosecuting “immoral price gougers” Dear Editor: Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was wrong to exhort the 50 state-attorneys general to zealously prosecute “immoral price gougers” of limited flu vaccines. Mr. Thompson’s exhortations violate a fundamental moral principle as well as an economic one. Morally, an […]

October 18, 2004

Prosecuting “immoral price gougers”

Dear Editor:

Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was wrong to exhort the 50 state-attorneys general to zealously prosecute “immoral price gougers” of limited flu vaccines.

Mr. Thompson’s exhortations violate a fundamental moral principle as well as an economic one. Morally, an individual has the right to ask any price he wants for a good or service he owns–and a buyer has an equal right to refuse that price. In a truly free society, the government is not granted the power to dictate to sellers and buyers the terms of a sale. Such power is found in dictatorships, not in nations that respect individual rights.

When prices are free to rise, producers in a capitalist economy are motivated to create a greater supply. Since they can now make more money from sales of the product, it is in their self-interest to get more of it to market. On the other hand, restricting prices of a good not only violates the rights of sellers and buyers, it inevitably leads to shortages of the particular good “protected” by the government’s policy.

Dr. Andrew Bernstein
Ayn Rand Institute

October 17, 2004

Green and Black Revisited

Attorney, Paul Klevin, representing Wildlife Works sent in the following comments regarding the article “Green and Black” by Dr. Sowell:

Mr. Sowell’s only purported source, an August 20, 2004 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, belied every statement that he made about my clients [Wildlife Works], as you can readily see for yourself at:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/08/20/MNGIL8A8341.DTL

On a basic reporting level, Mr. Sowell attributed false statements to my clients that are directly contradicted by his purported source. In the Chronicle article, my clients did not “lament[] … that poachers are hunting in this sacrosanct wilderness anyway, and that 20 percent of the meat sold in Nairobi comes from animals killed in this preserve.” The Chronicle article did not attribute any such statement to my clients, though it did cite a Kenyan group’s estimate that “20 percent of meat sold in Nairobi is bush meat,” poached from national parks throughout Kenya. Nairobi is not a village but a city with a population close to 3 million, so it would be ludicrous to state that a small, 125-square-mile wildlife sanctuary was providing meat for one-fifth of Nairobi.

In fact, none of the bush meat being sold in Nairobi comes from Wildlife Works’ Rukinga reserve. As the Chronicle article explained, while poachers annually kill thousands of animals in the vast national parks, there is very little poaching at Rukinga because Wildlife Works has “enlist[ed] local people in a campaign to protect native species.” Mr. Korchinsky did not “lament” a poaching problem at Rukinga in the Chronicle article, but instead explained how he had largely solved that problem by “

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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