在读 Basic Economics
Prices not only ration existing supplies, they also act as powerful incentives to cause supplies to rise or fall in response to changing demand. When a crop failure in a given region creates a sudden increase in demand for imports of food into that region, food suppliers elsewhere rush to be the first to get there, in order to capitalize on the high prices that will prevail until more supplies arrive and drive food prices back down again through competition. What this means, from the standpoint of the hungry people in that region, is that food is being rushed to them at maximum speed by “greedy” suppliers, probably much faster than if the same food were being transported to them by salaried government employees sent on a humanitarian mission.
Those spurred on by a desire to earn top dollar for the food they sell may well drive throughout the night or take short cuts over rough terrain, while those operating “in the public interest” are more likely to proceed at a less hectic pace and by safer or more comfortable routes. In short, people tend to do more for their own benefit than for the benefit of others. Freely fluctuating prices can make that turn out to be beneficial to others. In the case of food supplies, earlier arrival can be the difference between temporary hunger and death by starvation or by diseases to which people are more susceptible when they are undernourished. Where there are local famines in Third World countries, it is not at all uncommon for food supplied by international agencies to the national government to sit spoiling on the docks while people are dying of hunger inland. However unattractive greed may be, it is likely to move food much faster, saving more lives.引自 Prices and Supplies
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