People in the world are experiencing hysteria due to the outbreak of Coronavirus; by no means have I wanted to state that the situation is not real. The markets have tumbled and people are in the state of panic buying since we do not know how long will this situation will last, this is of course obvious. Mostly, I am concerned about the people who are poor and do not have the ability or the resources to do panic buying. What will they do?
Not only poor but the ones who are suffering from ailments other than Coronavirus are at most danger. For instance, we have people suffering from hypertension, psychological disorder, cancer, diabetes etc. who require constant health monitoring and perpetual supply of medicines which are now running short or have completely gone out of market.
People are already selling essential and non essential goods at a higher price than that on maximum retail price which is decided by the state. Suddenly the market is dictated by the unethical economics of supply and demand. The larger the demand and lesser the supply gives rise to higher prices which are regulated by the state and in such emergency situations the state cannot remain present everywhere and this leaves the buyer and seller unchecked.
For instance, sale of tobacco in any form has been prohibited by the Indian state since it does not fall under the essential commodity. This does not hamper the sale of tobacco, in fact the tobacco is being sold at much higher price than it maximum retail price printed on the box. Other essential commodities like wheat, rice, oil, sugar etc. are being sold at a higher price by the local mom and pop stores taking the advantage of the unregulated market. People who can afford are buying it thereby legitimizing the prices at which the commodities are sold. From where will the poor pay the price of the rich for buying these essential commodities?
It seems this situation will worsen further and the vultures have already arrived amidst the storm. God speed to everyone who are going through different kind of storms in their lives!
Dr. Udayprakash Sharma, Assistant Professor, Unitedworld School of Liberal Arts and Mass Communication (USLM)
Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.