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H2O-ver Priced?

May 12, 2010

Adam Fowler for Adam Fowler’s Opinion Blog:

Despite what pandering politicians may try to convince voters of, the realities of economics are not escapable — particularly the less desirable ones. No amount of wishful thinking or government-imposed mandates on economic behavior can get past certain facts.

Case in point is the reaction of local politicians to the economic fallout from the recent water line break in the Boston area. After the area tap water was deemed initially (and apparently incorrectly) to be contaminated, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and ordered residents to boil their water before using it. The natural result of this inconvenience was a surge in the demand for bottled water. Reacting to the increased demand, stores increased the price of bottled water, much to the dismay of some residents and politicians.

he Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, reacting to reports of jacked-up water prices, issued a press release asking for residents to report (via a special hotline) suspected incidents of “price-gouging” — a term seldom clearly defined when used. [More]

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