Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (3):347-378 (2008)

Authors
Matt Zwolinski
University of San Diego
Abstract
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I make this argument in three steps, by rebutting three widely held beliefs about the ethics of price gouging: 1) that laws prohibiting price gouging are morally justified, 2) that price gouging is morally impermissible behavior, even if it ought not be illegal, and 3) that price gouging reflects poorly on the moral character of those who engage in it, even if the act itself is not morally impermissible.
Keywords Business Ethics  Price Gouging  Efficiency  Exlpoitation  Hayek  Coercion
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq200818327
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References found in this work BETA

Sweatshops, Choice, and Exploitation.Matt Zwolinski - 2007 - Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (4):689-727.
Summa Theologica.Thomas Aquinas - 1274 - Hayes Barton Press.
The Morality of Law.Lon L. Fuller - 1964 - Yale University Press.
Exploitation: What It is and Why It's Wrong.Ruth J. Sample - 2003 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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Citations of this work BETA

Global Labor Justice and the Limits of Economic Analysis.Joshua Preiss - 2014 - Business Ethics Quarterly 24 (1):55-83.
Big Data and Personalized Pricing.Etye Steinberg - 2019 - Business Ethics Quarterly 30 (1):97-117.

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Price Gouging and Market Failure.Matt Zwolinski - 2010 - In Gerald Gaus, Julian Lamont & Christi Favor (eds.), ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS & ECONOMIC: INTEGRATION AND COMMON RESEARCH PROJECTS. Stanford University Press.
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