That’s Debatable: Is it Immoral to Raise Prices During a Crisis?

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When crises like the Coronavirus pandemic occur, it is common for businesses to raise the prices of items. However, is this immoral?

YES:

Here is a simple economics lesson: if demand is up for an item, the amount of product goes down, making it rarer and more valuable. Therefore, the price should be raised. When news of covid-19 arrived, people flooded stores searching for hand sanitizer, toilet paper, masks, gloves, canned goods, ect. Some people saw this as a money making opportunity and stocked up on the products in demand. They put these items on the market for double or triple the amount they bought it for. The world went crazy saying this is selfish and immoral, but I think they are just jealous they did not think to do it. 

It is not uncommon for people to step on each other in order to succeed in life. Raising the prices of goods in order to make more money is no different than a person stepping on the toes of a coworker in order to boost their reputation. Both cases are driven by money and hurt someone in the process. The American economy and business lifestyle lack humanity, but it is simply because of the moral code that has been built. There are so many large corporations that underpay workers to produce goods and make millions selling them. That can be argued as immoral, but the consumers still buy the products because they need them. The same goes for the increased prices during Covid-19. Whether people like the prices or not, there is a need for the sanitary products, so they are going to buy them. In order to succeed in business, people are going to get hurt and that is the harsh reality. The most successful business owners have to put their morals aside so they can make big money. Therefore, the raising of prices during this crisis is not immoral from a business outlook. 

The economy is struggling, so price gouging is really just a fast way to meet the consumer’s needs and help the economy return to normal. Economists are noting that increased prices may be unpopular, but they are really not a problem. Rising prices tell producers that more supplies are needed and the demand is rising faster than supply. Arguing about what the products should cost does nothing for the pandemic, instead it causes unnecessary stress. As long as the products are available, if they are truly needed, the price should not matter. 

Businesses such as Amazon and Ebay banned third-party vendors due to their outrageous prices. This left buyers unable to purchase the products at any price. The companies were trying to be moral, but their solution was ultimately immoral. The products were sold out at stores and now were not available to buy online. Therefore leaving the stockpilers in economic distress and the consumers in emotional distress. All in all, having no products is worse than expensive products, so Amazon and Ebay are truly the ones who were inhumane by cutting out the supply. 

All in all, rising prices during a crisis is an excellent business strategy. It should not be looked down upon because everyday large corporations commit worst acts that go unseen. There are no set of morals in the business world, everything revolves around money. Therefore hiking prices during covid-19 is not immoral because there are no morals when it comes to money-making.

Written by Taylor Olgin

YES:

Difficult times are known to bring out the best, and the worst in people. When a community is suffering, many people step up to help those in need, and make everything around them better for it. Unfortunately, others take people struggling and see it as a quick way to make money, thinking only of themselves. 

When the Coronavirus outbreak was just beginning on March 1, brothers Matt and Noah Colvin in Tenn. bought all the hand sanitizer they could from stores like Dollar Tree and Walmart at low prices, and then travelled the state selling them for much more money than they bought it for, according to the New York Times. Some would call this good business: classic supply and demand. The demand for hand sanitizer went up, and so people started to sell them for higher prices. It’s classic capitalism.

However, because the price of hand sanitizer increased, many people who would normally be able to afford it, couldn’t anymore. Coupled with the fact that so many people lost jobs from the crisis, soon many people could not afford some basic necessities to stay healthy during a pandemic. 

And that leads us to the main problem: the immorality of increasing prices during a crisis. If a person or business purposefully raises prices because they know people are desperate enough to pay, they are taking advantage of the terrible situation people are in so that they can make an extra buck.

It is nothing new. Businesses have been raising prices when they see an opportunity since the beginning of industry. 

Sometimes it is necessary. If the products or labor needed to make a product becomes more expensive, then naturally the product becomes more expensive. However, if a business raises the price of a product for no reason other than to make more money, it is just selfish. 

The people that are most affected by crises are those with little money to begin with. If they lose their jobs, they will likely not have the savings to support themselves through the crisis, let alone to pay for necessities that are getting more and more expensive by the day.

And so it is the lower class that will suffer most from the crisis, while the business owners that are increasing prices are just getting wealthier and wealthier. They are directly taking advantage of those without the money or power to do anything about it. 

All in all, it is immoral to raise prices during a crisis because those without the money to pay for necessities will be most directly affected, while the upper class just gets richer and richer in their misery.

Written by Sophie Crivier