The lockdowns of the past month have not been conducive to the common good. While they have saved the lives of many people, they have also endangered—and are still endangering—the lives and livelihoods of many others. They have created a new and dangerous political precedent.
Politicians and pundits have a blind spot when it comes to international economic transactions. They ignore a portion of trade! In particular, they ignore trade in claims on future income—that is, stocks and bonds.
Anti-price gouging laws mean that those who really end up getting the short end of the stick are those who don't have the time or the means to beat the crowds to the store. Worse off are those of lesser means who rely on public transportation or walking to transport groceries home.
What needs to be done in such a crisis is not to attempt to steer the market to ensure it provides what is needed, but to let it free to do what it always does: match the goals of entrepreneurial producers with the needs of the populace.
The coronavirus crisis must cause us to rethink the idea governments can manage these situations. It is absolutely true that most private industry can be trusted, because the alternative for poor or unscrupulous providers is failure.