Large companies are increasingly learning that during disasters, their algorithms, which raise prices as demand grows, are unethical and will hurt their brand, infers Daniel Gross of Slate. Online retailers and airlines, in particular, have learned from past PR disasters that the public won’t accept exorbitant fees during crises. Their algorithms may be profitable, but limiting people’s food and transport due to financial constraints is wrong. It inherently takes advantage of people who are forced to use their services by a hurricane. It may have taken public backlash to make a difference, but price gouging during disasters is rightfully ebbing.
Price gouging can prevent individuals from hoarding vital resources during disasters that would serve more people if equally distributed, holds Seth Kaplan of USA Today. Without it, those who come first take all the water they can carry and fill canisters full of extra fuel. A large part of these purchases end up unused while shops become empty. This hurts all those that couldn’t make it to the store right away. Higher prices would encourage people to better estimate how much water or gas they truly need before gathering as much as possible. Price gouging can ensure that essentials are distributed more equally.