The basic insight underlying the law of supply and demand is that at any given moment a price that is "too high" will leave disappointed would-be sellers with unsold goods, while a price that is "too low" will leave disappointed would-be buyers without the goods they wish to buy. There exists a "right" price, at which all those who wish to buy can find sellers willing to sell and all those who wish to sell can find buyers willing to buy. This "right" price is therefore often called the "market-clearing price."The following does not speak well to the intelligence and competency of the educators over in Henrico:
50 bucks for a like-new iBook?! Heck, I would have broken bones and trampled elderly men and women too, although I might have spared the stroller.
17 Hurt as Computer Sale Turns Into Stampede 'Pandemonium' As 5,000 Show Up At Richmond Event
By Stephanie McCrummen and Aymar Jean, Washington Post Staff Writers
Four years ago, Henrico County purchased 18,000 of the computers for about $1,100 each for its public school students and teachers. The county decided to sponsor yesterday's event to sell 1,000 surplus iBooks to residents.
Presented with a rare chance to get a used laptop computer for $50, a crowd of more than 5,000 showed up hours early yesterday at the Richmond International Raceway and -- when the gates finally were flung open at 7 a.m. -- turned into an unruly stampede, as people pushed, shoved and beat each other to get to the Apple iBooks. Elderly men and women were trampled and a girl's stroller was crushed.
The melee lasted about five minutes, and about 70 police officers eventually were called in to control the crowd, Stanley said. About 17 people were injured, including four who were taken to a hospital and treated for scrapes, bruises, heat-related problems and possible broken bones, authorities said. (link)
So what lesson did we learn from this, children? At what price should the iBooks have been set in order to meet the Law of Supply and Demand? We'll never know now but we can ascertain from the sale over in Henrico County, Virginia and the crushed and bleeding bodies littering the Richmond International Raceway that it sure as hell wasn't $50.