July 08, 2005

Welcome, one and all, to the Land of Fuzzy Thinking and Emotional Do-Goodism. This lovely land looks very much like our own, except shortages are not expected to cause price increases:

Hundreds of commuters spent Thursday night stranded in London and some have accused hoteliers of cashing in on the crisis in the capital.

Prices at a number of London's hotels increased by more than double on Thursday night, the BBC has learned.

They most definitely should have doubled, and for very good reasons. Every hotel in the district experienced an unexpected, and unbudgeted, business surge. All existing staff had to stay on and work double shifts (with overtime bonuses). Extra staff had to be called in on top of them to maintain service. Restaurants had to order "rush" supplies to ensure meals could be served. Utility consumption, from electricity to water to even internet access, spiked upward in a completely unpredictable way. Simple custodial and maid services had to have been strained, requiring yet more extra people to contain the rush.

But even if none of that happened and this was a simple price spike, that's the way it's supposed to work. When demand increases and supply remains the same, in a free market the price goes up. People are simply willing to pay more for something that's scarce.

The alternative? Well, in the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, extra hotel rooms certainly would have been whirled out of thin air in an instant, to be given away to maintain our Emotional Do-Goodism image. In the real world, simple human nature pokes a stick in the eye of this lovely leftist liberal ideal, because when the price of something is low, people consume more of it. People who could have made alternative arrangements (no matter how inconvenient) to get home would have checked into a room instead. Those who may have been willing to add some room mates to split the costs would have instead taken a single room. Some may even have declared a holiday for themselves and stayed much longer than they needed to.

The result? Those who couldn't make alternative arrangements no matter what, who would've been quite willing to more efficiently use the space by adding more people, or who just needed a place to sleep for a few hours would simply have had no place to go.

Because, unlike the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, there is no magic hotel fairy around to wave a wand and create rooms out of thin air. No matter how cruel it may sound to the Emotional Do-Gooders who only visit our cold real world on occasion, the simple fact is there is supply, and there is demand. To the crushing and continual disappointment of leftists and liberals around the world no amount of control, regulation, command, or even wishful thinking will change this. Trying anyway (as the good citizens of tLoFT always do) doesn't magically make the situation better, it makes it worse.

Not that this will change anything. When confronted with the simple reality of, well, reality, when their fuzzy yellow nerf-like naivete is squashed flat under the steam roller of human nature, the citizens of the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, as all good leftists and liberals tend to do, will simply simper and cry. "Oh waily waily waily!!!" they'll say, "the evil capitalists and conservatives are having their way with us!!! Exploitation! Profiteering! Such is what happens when greed overtakes compassion! Shame on them! Waily waily waily!!!"

They disappoint me, but they do not surprise me. Just as increased consumption in the face of lower prices is a fact of human nature, so is whining about something we want but can't get. I can only hope common sense takes over and the people bitching about paying double for their hotel room realize that there are others who paid a far higher price that day.

Go home. Get some rest. Hug the ones you love, and keep in mind that if money is your problem, that's no real problem at all.

Posted by scott at July 08, 2005 09:45 AM

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