Wednesday, December 10, 2014

any price is a fair price

At the beginning of the 14th century the great Thomas Aquinas in a letter to Jacopo da Viterbo (later archbishop of Naples) described the common market price as the "just price".  Unfortunately this early insight seems to have dropped through the Orwellian memory hole as per the recent Harper government pledge to crack down on 'price gouging'.  Prompting the crusaders over at the competition bureau to launch an inquisition into the activities of the poor saps who are foolish enough to engage in entrepreneurial activity in this country will do nothing to bring down the prices paid by Canadian consumers.  The price of a homogenous good is determined not by the callousness or greed of businessmen but rather by the intersection of supply and demand. What will occur is that some businessmen will be capriciously targeted and have to go through the rigmarole of justifying their prices and potentially facing sanction by the state if their explanations are deemed unsatisfactory.

If it is true that prices are higher in Canada (the question is entirely irrelevant, since as old Tommy boy said, any price is a fair price) then perhaps we need to look for a different culprit than the much maligned captain of industry.  It's more rational to assume that burden of blame should be placed on the endless red tape, bureaucratic tyranny, crippling regulation and incessant taxation which those who wish to engage in commercial activity in this nation must wade through.

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