Although the economic view is that the market economy justifies any price that has a buyer, ethically speaking, crisis profiteering is at work.
For months, we have been paying for meat at least a third more expensive than a year ago. And vegetables and twice as much. They have increased the price of oil, fruit, fuel, heating, services … Wallets know better than statistical reports how fast they are emptied. Economists say that higher inflation is a consequence of the pandemic, disrupted flows of supply and demand on the global market, the jump in energy prices, but also – the greed of traders.
As the governor of the National Bank of Serbia, Jorgovanka Tabaković, said a few days ago, apart from economic and psychological causes, inflation was also pushed by sluggish retail chains, which in general trouble are raising prices beyond measure. These “hunters in the dark”, as she called them, use the moment to make obscene money. The coffee, which she recently paid dearly for, angered the governor so much that she threatened the merchants that she would be on the website of the National Bank of Serbia.
Although the economic view is that a market economy justifies any price that has a buyer, ethically speaking it is crisis profiteering. The governor believes that the laziness of such traders will return like a boomerang and that the buyers will punish them. Therefore, it intends that, as the comparative prices of all bank services are published on the central bank’s website, a comparative offer in retail chains will be published. With such an insight, customers could decide where to shop.
This could be a punishment for sellers who compensate for the drop in turnover by openly pleasing customers. However, it would be even easier and more effective if the state and its institutions found a way to curb such traders, for example by limiting margins. Or by increasing commodity reserves at a time when supply is high and prices lower, and then by placing them on the market, when traders become stronger. To cure them of greed.
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