A Speedbump on the Road to Revolution

Truck drivers say they won’t deliver to cities that disband police departments.

Tough luck, Minneapolis! I’m sure you’ll come up with a suitable substitute for food delivery. Of course you could go the capitalist route and pay more until people are willing to dare the risk. Probably citizens won’t mind the increase in food prices as much as they’d mind starvation.

Unfortunately embracing capitalism would defeat the purpose of the revolution.


Korora said...

Doesn't the Minneapolis PD have a contract?

ymarsakar said...

The PD may be gone due to defunding.

Things were finally getting to the point that Leftist police unions were forced to use body cams and reform themselves. Now they are getting rid of the reformers and replacing them with ANtifa brownshirts.... quite convenient.

Aggie said...

Over 425,000 residents, and half of them have above-average intelligence. I wonder if they can figure this one out by November.

MikeD said...

I want to start by saying that in no way do I mean even the slightest disrespect for our host, but I am honestly confused. Back when we were having the discussion about "the morality of libertarian support for price gouging" in the wake of hurricanes, you [Grim] said that you would even consider killing a shopkeep for raising prices on portable generators if it priced the generator out of you ability to purchase one if you had a family member whose life depended on one (for medical reasons, refridgerated medication, etc). I honestly fail to see the difference in what you're suggesting here, except for the fact that we're talking about food (something that literally cannot be done without, unlike power).

To be clear, I actually agree that truck drivers have a right to refuse to take any given shipment if they feel the trip will put them in danger. To require them to carry such a load is tantamount to forced labor (which is forbidden by the 13th Amendment). And thus, the only way to get the required food supplies in would be to increase the money offered to carry the shipment, and which (as you point out) would increase the cost of the food so delivered. But how, morally, is that any different than "price gouging" (aka raising prices on highly desired goods which has the knock-on effect of increasing shipments of those goods to that area)? Is it because the disaster is the result of bad policy as opposed to a natural one? Is it because it is the supplier driving the increased cost that makes it moral for the shop keep to raise prices (rather than an increased demand)?

I think we agree that the laws of supply and demand are indeed immutable. As scarcity increases, so does cost. As supply increases, scarcity decreases, and thus so does cost. What I don't grasp is the moral calculus that says "if a shop keep raises prices in the face of a disaster, it is immoral to do so in some cases, but not in others."

ymarsakar said...

What is immoral concerns the usage of fiat currency, babylonian system or Caesar's coin, in any survival situation.

The food crisis concerns people's labor and thus liberty. The other one concerns life and survival. The money usage makes it a black magic ritual. Obey or else.

But in such situations, currency loses its value, and violence gains in value.

If a person won't barter for what they need, that's up to them. But selling survival supplies for worthless fiat currency, forcing people to raise even more worthless fiat currency, is pointless even in Service to Self mode.

Christopher B said...

MikeD, I think you can draw something of a moral distinction between a merchant who because of other people's misfortune has a product whose value increases significantly and the truckers. More options exist than simply price to regulate demand, at least on a temporary basis. He can try to get more delivered to his store, and sell those at whatever price is necessary to obtain them plus costs. He can limit sales in various ways such as hard limits or lottery. The truckers really have only one choice, go or not go. While there maybe some ideology involved, it's likely that the actual and potential cost (i.e. loss of a truck) might have increased so much that operating into a location without effective law enforcement isn't practicable.

Grim said...

True. One difference is in terms of having a monopoly on something vs the market operating normally. Someone who has a monopoly on a lifesaving good, and who refuses to share it unless you submit vast wealth or surrender liberty, is doing a severe moral wrong. This is true even if the monopoly is local and temporary, and by chance.

Here there is no monopoly. Everyone can decide to drive or not independently. If you wanted to offer more, that’s a decision you can make, and negotiate, with thousands of people. The trucker who refuses to assume risks cheaply is thus not similar to the monopolist who has people over a barrel.

But the other significant difference is the risk. The monopolist is running no risk in choosing to sell or not (unless he should provoke piratical instincts by refusing to help people in need without extraction of massive prices). The truckers are facing and motivated by a heightened risk of being hijacked or shot. No people have a right to compel others to face risks that were created by the decisions of those same persons. If they want to make trucking more dangerous, it’s on them to cover the costs of that.

Grim said...

In fact I think the truckers are more analogous to the people denied goods by the monopolist than to the monopolist. In both cases, someone is using a position of power in ways that increase harm or probability of harm to their families. In both cases, they are responding as individuals, using not concentrated power but only the power that they have as individuals.

MikeD said...

But before the increased price shipments arrive, the local shop keep WILL have a monopoly on food supplies and will be faced with the choice of rationing or increasing prices. So you're saying it's immoral for him to raise his prices before running out of stock and having to pay suppliers for increased shipping costs? So the burden of morality (and risk of looting) is to be borne solely by the shop keep? The trucker, by virtue of his non-locality) has the option to refuse to carry goods at standard market prices. But the shop keep not only has a moral duty to maintain standard prices until he is FORCED to raise them to pay for the cost differential required to attract hesitant carriers, but also must bear the risks of unhappy customers robbing/looting his store which is the precise reason the shippers are reluctant to enter the area in the first place?

Remind me never to open a store near you! But let me posit this. Would the store owner be justified in hiring a private armed security force to prevent theft/looting and raise prices on his wares accordingly to pay for that force, or would that too be immoral?

E Hines said...

In a free market--which includes monopolies--prices rise and fall with the relationship between supply and demand. This is high school economics.

Price gauging is holding out for a higher price than market forces produce on their own.

The distinction between the two is why it's so hard to prove gauging. The economic tests for distinguishing between the two are statistical, and so they're indicative, but they're not dispositive.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

Yes, as Mr Hines points out, you seem to be conflating “raising prices” and “gouging.” Meat prices are higher here now; I don’t object because it keeps meat in the stores.

The original case was charging vast sums for drinking water or medical technologies without which people would surely perish, and quickly, before new stocks could appear. It was not for smaller scale adjustments over time for changing conditions.

I don’t object to security. I also think store owners should be allowed to kill looters to stop looting.

raven said...

Who is to decide what a "fair" price is, if not the market? Is the price adjustable , depending on who is buying, and who is selling? One man's vast expenditure is anothers pocket change.
We have recent examples, toilet paper being one. if the price was doubled or tripled, some would have had their hording instinct tempered, and others, even at the high price, would have a roll to use. Prices rising in the face of a shortage is a natural and desirable occurrence. Should the price be kept low, so one person can buy the whole stock, and then resell at the formerly "unfair" price? Sooner or later, pricing will find a market level. We can see this playing out in ammunition , now.

ymarsakar said...


Great example of market prices.

22 USD to 40 USD, and that's only because 3m made more of them.

It is more important to raise up the supply network for everyone than it is for a few people to beneift themselves. THis is because it is a matte rof service to self or service to other polarization.

Thus the person using the generator or the person middle managing the trade of the generator, are all service t oself.

They only harmonize towards service to others if they use this generator or something related, to make more power or generators for other people. This deals with the "scarcity" issue by providing abundance.

Which is the whole entire point of many religious rituals and teachings, to point away from materialistic scarcity towards spiritual abundance. Because if the spirit does not lead, then people will supply the physical supplies and everyone will lose their stuff. It won't matter how much worthless fiat currency and magic talismans you have, if there is no farm there is no food. The price of nothing is nothing.

THe fact that much of humanity refuses to comprehend this teaching or chooses to redistribute and steal, is a barrier in progress.

ymarsakar said...

The two exact =scenarios would indeed be Lord of the Flies and the actual shipwrecked kid event.

The latter polarized Service to Other in harmony to all and self. The first polarized Service to Self, at the expense of others and in return for Obedience at ALl Costs.

This is loosely seen in totalitarian control economies vs free market based rule of law based democracies. Loosely.

Both technically "work" but one needs a constant source of slaves or input of resources. The other one generats more and more resources.

This is a true spectrum even on the angel or elohim level.

MikeD said...

Yes, as Mr Hines points out, you seem to be conflating “raising prices” and “gouging.”

I'm honestly not. Because the definition of "gouging" seems to be "raising prices on goods I deem essential". In our original hurricane discussion, the item in question was a portable generator. A device humanity has managed to live without for the vast and overwhelming history of our species. And at the time, you laid out a scenario where you would be willing to kill a shop keep who priced one out of your range. Now, the context IS important, as that scenario involved a sick child who required refrigerated medication, but at the time, my question was, if you have such a situation, why on earth would you wait until a natural disaster was approaching (or struck) rather than prepare when times were more peaceful (the old ant vs grasshopper). And most "anti-gouging" laws actively prevent ANY price increase on "essential goods" once an emergency is declared (or other trigger event), which has the very predictable result of runs on stores and the complete overwhelming of supply chains bottle-necking those same supplies.

As I stated in the generator example (and as you yourself stated in this example), nothing gets additional numbers of supplies to a given region like a spike in the money those supplies command. If a $150 generator suddenly goes for $600 in one market, you can bet your bottom dollar someone will find a way to bring truckloads of the things to that market. Likewise, if the number of truckers willing to deliver to certain cities decreases to a mere 23%, and you increase the pay sufficiently to draw the other 77% back in, you'll get the supplies delivered. But the costs will go up accordingly.

BUT, if prices are fixed on portable generators because they're deemed "essential" by lawmakers, the $150 items fly off the shelves as people buy two or three ("just in case") leaving none for others, and the wider market has no additional incentive to bring more supplies of them to that market than they do to any other market in the nation (and less incentive if there's an approaching natural disaster, for who wants to drive a big rig into a hurricane?). And once again, I will repeat MY chosen solution for all the scarcity mess, which is that local shop keeps who know their local patrons ought to watch out and hold critical supplies for their most vulnerable customers and gouge the money out of those customers who can afford (and who also attempt) to hoard supplies. Someone comes to checkout with a cart full of toilet paper? Inform them of the 250% "hoarding charge" that will accompany each purchase. Watch them drop their attempts to do so, and if they don't (because they can afford it) then you've created incentive for additional supplies to be brought in, because your toilet paper is selling for much higher prices than other markets.

Grim said...

The Catholic Church might say that extrajudicial killing is always wrong, no matter the end; and perhaps that is correct (though see 'depravity,' below). It is axiomatic to my philosophy, however, that I am prepared to be wrong in order to defend my family -- and perhaps even my country. Sometimes you accept dirty hands, and try to get clean later; that is the role of confession, and penance.

... if you have such a situation, why on earth would you wait until a natural disaster was approaching (or struck) rather than prepare when times were more peaceful (the old ant vs grasshopper).

You shouldn't, obviously. However, the fact that you 'shoulda' done differently doesn't change the fact that the child will die; and that the merchant is prepared to allow the child to die rather than to sell the generator at an only-slightly-inflated price rather than a ruinous price. That is a kind of depravity of indifference to the child's life that may even justify violence on ordinary moral terms.

I suppose the child plays an important role, being innocent; if it were one's own medicine, that one had not purveyed for in better times, it would be a different case. It might not be depraved indifference to life if it were not an innocent life, but one who bears the guilt of his own choices. A court might even say that the child's death is on his head rather than the monopolist's, for it was his responsibility to purvey for the medicine and not the merchant's. But if the father is going to bear the guilt for a death either way, I can't see why he wouldn't prefer to be guilty for killing a price-gouging merchant than for killing his own child.

ymarsakar said...

But if the father is going to bear the guilt for a death either way, I can't see why he wouldn't prefer to be guilty for killing a price-gouging merchant than for killing his own child.

The fiat currency is what distracts people from a solution that benefits both parties.

ymarsakar said...

This is a very simple concept. The generators are worth something. A child or a merchant, is worth something.

Your fiat currency system is worth zero. In fact, the value is only set by a centralized authority. In this case, it would be price merchant gouging. But normally, it is the Federal Reserve or smoe other power like centralized banking. They print money and allow certain factions to monopolize said money. This allows them to have more purchasing power than other factions. This is not redistribution of wealth necessarily, but redistribution of who controls what can be bought and which resources go where.

They don't do this directly like in a command economy, but if someone has 8 billion and you have 8 dollars, then maybe you won't get the resources you need? But what if you were the only person in the community that could use the resources to benefit everyone else, but the guy with 8 billion is just a carpet bagger? Your fiat currency system gives the 8 billion rich guy, the power, not the community organizer.

That is inherently an explosion waiting to happen. In times of peace and plenty, sure, people will comply. But when the riots start and police have to choose who to protect and who to ignore...

MikeD said...

Would you accept my proposed solution of the shop keep saving a needed generator for the family of the sick child while gouging the rich man up the hill who wants to buy his entire stock of generators?

Grim said...

I suppose. It’s just private property at that point, which people can trade as they like.