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Economics is fascinating to me because I think there never would have been a toilet paper shortage if people didn’t think there was going to be a toilet paper shortage.

Which is why any economic theory which assumes people are “rational actors” is nonsense. People are ridiculous.

I should have said “canned beets” instead of toilet paper because they also disappeared from shelves for 2 months but no one in their right mind would say “well clearly the demand for perennial favorite, canned sliced beets, doubled when people started staying home”

@sweetmercury have you read ‘extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds’ or whatever it’s called? lot of inaccuracies but it’s quite entertaining if not taken as gospel

@sweetmercury Richard Thaler won a Nobel prize in economics for being like the first economist ever to say people act irrationally

@sweetmercury the decisions are internally logically consistent, it's just that "rational" is horrifically misleading in terms of framing the nature and extent of the garbage that's going in

@sweetmercury I'm not sure this is what "rational actor" means? Things like runs on banks are well-known. Or check out game theory and prisoner's dilemmas. Defecting is often rational; it's cooperation that needs to be explained.

@skybrian maybe that’s not the technical definition but “considering the consequences of one’s actions for terms longer than one day” might be worth including.

@sweetmercury to be fair everyone did suddenly need twice as much toilet paper. That put a major dent in the supply for the first weeks and then the supply chain just takes a while to adjust because everything is running on auto and has to be tweaked.

@rune i can’t speak for all areas but in NJ the grocery store shelves were bare well before the stay at home order. Did the demand for tofu suddenly double, spray cleaner? Peanut butter? Frozen vegetables? Canned beets?

@sweetmercury I don't know what you're into.. But while I've never eaten tofu both at work and at home in the same day I can promise you I've gone to the bathroom both at work and at home.. Almost every day I've gone to work.

@rune what’s more likely, that use of canned beets instantly doubled when there were rumors of a quarantine order or that people panicked and bought way more than necessary of everything that they could “just in case”

@sweetmercury I don't know, I find the "everyone was shitting at home when they normally would have done so at work, and institutional toilet paper is not fungible with home toilet paper" theory extremely compelling. Once the idea of the shortage was embedded it definitely changed people's attitudes but the initial exhaustion of the supply chain was a real consequence of just-in-time inventory

@triz @robotcarsley and yeah I agree JIT is definitely why the whole chain collapsed under pressure

@robotcarsley fwiw the paper shelves were stripped bare in NJ weeks before the stay at home order. Like just IMMEDIATELY. Wasn’t just TP that was just most ridiculous example. Couldn’t buy pasta, frozen veggies, canned food, peanut butter, tofu, really anything shelf stable.

@sweetmercury enough people believe in it, and it becomes real.

Now, completely different subject (honestly), why do we not believe in magical curses?

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jorts.horse

Unstoppable shitposting engine.