As many Cats will know, local supermarkets have run out of toilet paper, pasta, rice, and flour.
This is due to panic buying over COVID-19. I can only surmise that many people expect to be confined to their homes for a period of time. It’s not immediately clear to me why people are buying up so much toilet paper in the first instance. But the Davidson household has stocked up in the second instance – we went out and stocked up so we’d have sufficient supply to tide us over until everyone else calmed down. I imagine many others are doing the same. On that note, the Davidson household has not stocked up on pasta, rice, or flour. We always have a stock of coffee and alcohol to hand.
Anyway – I digress.
Showing that they have zero understanding of how people think the Victorian Council of Social Service put out this communication today.
Their message is, of course, entirely correct. But the argument is wrong. Nobody is thinking of ‘others’ when panic buying. Now we can tut-tut and carry on about our fellow human and all that crap, but the empty shelves speak for themselves.
Rather the message should be one of keeping calm. Down-playing the hysteria. It is extremely unlikely that Australians will be confined to their homes. It is extremely unlikely that we’ll be looking at a death rate akin to the 1918 flu epidemic. Yes – those individuals who are immunocompromised and elderly are at risk and the statistics do show a high death rate for them.
Everybody else should calm down.
Is now the time to suggest that menu pricing is inefficient? That if the price of toilet paper were allowed to rise that we’d see fewer empty shelves?
What I would like to see, however, is the institutions of civil society broadcasting the importance of remaining calm and not over-reacting.
Civil society within Australia is robust and we are a wealthy economy. Societies with those characteristics can well withstand external shocks.