… is from page 586 of Dwight Lee’s superb new article “Making the Case Against ‘Price Gouging’ Laws,” which appears in the Spring 2015 issue (Vol. 19) of The Independent Review (footnote excluded):
Today trade has been expanded to include people all over the world, and we have had centuries of opportunities to benefit from and increase the gains of that trade, which explains why we enjoy a prosperity today that was unimaginable even a hundred years ago, much less during the era of hunter-gatherers. In less than an hour in a local grocery store, we can hunt for and gather a week’s supply of food (much of it ready to eat) from a choice of thousands of items (including a host of nonfood items), made available by the cooperative (and specialized) efforts of millions of complete strangers making productive use of large amounts of human and physical capital. And we can pay for that food with the income earned in three or four hours from our own specialized productivity, such as working as an accountant in a comfortable office for a manufacturer that produces nothing but ball bearings using highly specialized machinery.