It's time for Howard's Illustrated Economics.
This morning, our instinctive distrust of business.
Over the weekend, when Hawaiian Airlines' Molokai fares briefly spiked to $300, it was clearly a computer-assisted screw-up. But many of your neighbors were all too willing to assume it was done on purpose.
It is a curious thing that we all claim to support local businesses, but we're equally quick to assume the worst about their behavior, and to see greed where none may exist.
Here's how it works:
First a local business goes out of business and we bemoan that. We talk about how much we liked it, and how we wish everyone would support local businesses.
Then a competitor comes in from the mainland, maybe a bigger company that has lower costs because they buy in bulk, maybe a bigger company that can afford to undercut the local guy and sell at a loss. And immediately we assume that the original guy, the local guy, was gouging us all along.
We forsake that guy, flock to the cheaper price, and the local guy goes out of business. Good riddance, we say. And then, after a discreet interval.
We return to our original mantra about what a shame it is that people don't do more to support local business.
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