The (In)Visible Hand, Scarcity, Venezuela, and the PlayStation 5
(Originally Published December 2020)
As Christmas approaches around the world, lines get longer, prices fluctuate, and everyone wants to get their hands on the season’s hottest gift or toy for their loved ones. This holiday season’s most sought after gift appears to be either a Sony PlayStation 5 or a Microsoft Xbox Series S/X, with price ranges from $299-$499 depending on the model. However, as of this writing in December 2020, it is almost impossible to acquire any of the models for anything less than several hundred more than the suggested retail price, with some scalpers and speculators selling them for thousands of dollars on online marketplaces. It is estimated by some that these speculators have made almost 30 million dollars on a reported 60,000 resold consoles. This type of greed and unadulterated resemblance to the ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ is unconscionable and unfortunate. Artificial scarcity is of course nothing new for a capitalist economy, one recalls the millions of tons of food products destroyed by large producers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of tons of food are also destroyed on the daily in capitalist economies in order to artificially inflate prices at the expense of consumers and workers alike. The problem posed by the new generation of gaming consoles, that is, the purchasing of goods at a lower price and then gouging people at highly speculative prices, is nothing new for the people of Venezuela although in a much more serious and dangerous fashion. Continue reading at Orinoco Tribune!