Massachusetts: still punishing success

By now, everyone’s seen the Playstation 3 hype. It’s nuts. Crowds rioting to get one of the machines. Armed robberies and burglaries. Knifings. Shootings. People getting 4-5 times list price on EBay. Sony (a corporation I’ve learned to loathe) has not a hit on its hand, but a genuine phenomenon.

So, what’s the Mayor of Boston doing about this event?

Is he blaming the people who are going certifiably insane over it? No. Is he blaming the stores for not anticipating the reaction? A little.

It’s Sony’s fault. You see, they should have known that they were making the equivalent of electronic crack, and done something different. Maybe made it suck a little. Or abolished labor laws and had their factories crank out even more machines. Or… well, anything that would have cut into their profits, but made the mayor of Boston’s life a little less chaotic.

The economic formula is simple: if the supply of an item is greater than the demand, then you probably should cut your prices. If the supply is below the demand, then you are almost guaranteed to sell all you have on hand for your set price.

Sony, in this case, is doing everything right and nothing wrong. They have designed a very, very popular item, and they are supplying all they can. If the demand is greater, then so be it — they are under no obligation to make so many that the price falls and everyone who wants one can have one.

Because, in the end, one fact trumps everything, even the petulant whining of the legendarily inarticulate Mayor of Boston, the Honorable Thomas “Mumbles” Menino:


Good luck with your efforts to collect from Sony, Mumbles. Maybe they’ll decide that they simply won’t ship anything to the city of Boston, just to avoid the headaches.

Talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-g-generation


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