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I really don't get the outrage against scalpers. They're just buying commodity futures, taking a bet on the future value of the tickets. If the value goes up, they make a profit, if the band suddenly become unpopular or whatever they lose.

We're in a capitalist system, the price you pay the scalpers is the "real" price of the concert: it's the law of supply-and-demand.

Now, if scalpers win every time, this is an issue with the original ticket sellers, not the scalpers!

If Shell started selling petrol at half standard price and some guy comes round to fill up a tank and then sell it to people at 95% standard price, that's Shell's mistake, not evil behaviour on his part.

To the average fan, the comparison between a ticket to see Act X on a specific date in their town is nowhere near the same as pork bellies or orange juice. They're called 'commodities' because they're interchangeable. Tickets are extremely specific to a single date and location and act.

Good point, I guess tickets would be "infungible commodities"... But the fact that you can take market bets on them doesn't change

The outrage at scalpers relates to how people feel what something is 'worth' against what you pay for it.

The existence of scalpers is curious. Artists could get the money they do. There are reasons why they still exist, one of them being that artists use scalpers to get cash in hand.

There is a really good episode of Planet Money that looks at why there are scalpers, how they work and what can be done by artists if they don't want them to make money:


They are creating monopolies (cartels) and creating artificial demand by cornering the market. Things most capitalist systems regulate/limit.

They are speculators. People have instinctive dislike for speculators as they produce nothing and in scalpers case provide no benefit (such as liquidity) to society.

Scalpers do provide a benefit though: If you have more money than time, scalpers enable you to easily buy the best tickets, those which would probably have been sold out within a few hours if everyone could buy them at the artificially low prices set by the venue.

Speculation is just another word for betting, I don't think that's an inherently bad thing.

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