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Friday, April 02, 2004
Providers, not parasites

ASI Blog has two good pieces on the merits of speculators and ticket touts, economic actors who are widely disparaged but who, as is shown, provide an invaluable service.

All such people do is to buy commodities in the expectation that they will fetch a higher price later. Speculation means thinking ahead to what will be demanded in the future and buying it in the hope of making a profit by providing it for people then. Touting means tickets are allocated not based entirely on who can phone a hotline fastest, but in accordance with the willingness of people to pay to attend the event in question.

If you think it is wrong that some people can make money by perceiving people's wants and needs and then meeting them, your objection is less to speculation than to the profit motive itself. And if you think it is wrong that tickets should be allocated according to people's wish to attend an event - expressed in their willingness to pay more - then your objection is less to ticket touts than to the price mechanism.

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