by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Those who lived in central North Carolina in 1996 might remember the story of enterprising college students who traveled to the region after Hurricane Fran and sold $8 bags of ice to people lacking electricity. People stood in line to get the ice, and the transactions lasted until police arrived and arrested the students for “price gouging.”
Rather than lament the lost access to much-needed ice, many of the people in line clapped as police hauled the sellers away. Why?
University of Arizona philosophy professor Jerry Gaus attempted to answer that question during a presentation for the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society. Gaus discussed what he called the “reactive emotions view,” which explains why people might reject a deal that would seem to benefit them economically because of their negative emotions.
Gaus offers more details in the video clip below.
2 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 50:35 event.
You’ll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.