Supply and demand interact; that's basic economics. But let a natural disaster strike, causing demand for certain things to go up, which tends to push up the price, and they call it price gouging and bring in the attorney general's profit police.
"We recognize that the majority of businesses will not take advantage of Hoosiers affected by the winter weather storms, and this warning is for those that would put greed before their better judgment," Attorney General Steve Carter said. "The attorney general's office will investigate complaints about unconscionable pricing."
Why unconscionable? Why is it more evil to increase the price of winter coats during a cold snap than it is to increase the price of roses on Feb. 14? Because there is a greater need for the coats? Those with the greatest need are always willing to pay the highest price; that's how resources are allocated. I am more willing to pay to have my walk shoveled when it has snowed 12 inches than I am when it has snowed 2 inches. But when someone comes along and offers to shovel it for $20, I still have choices. I can pay it, try to negotiate, decline and hope someone comes along and offers to do it for $10, think about doing it myself. The person who prices his shoveling at $50 is likely to earn nothing, while the one who offers it for $5 is likely to do too much work for too little money.
In every free transaction, each party is trying to take advantage of the other. Even in a blizzard or after a hurricane, there is no evil unless there is fraud, a price that isn't what it seems to be or a good or service that isn't delivered as promised.