Toilet Paper Econ 101 – Foundation for Economic Education

Many are asking, “How, in the modern world, can we be running out of toilet paper?” But before we can answer that, we must first understand the solution to a mystery that is far more amazing:

How did we ever enjoy a regular supply of toilet paper in the first place?

That is a much more baffling question, because pulling that off takes the finely-coordinated cooperation of millions of people. Taking that into consideration, a fully-stocked shelf of toilet paper is a marvel to behold. We must first learn the “magic” behind that miracle. Only then can we understand how the wondrous spell gets broken and the shelves go bare.

The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 is only one of many enormous economic and social disruptions created by the coronavirus and government’s response to it.

If we are going to recover from this anytime soon, we need to work together. And that doesn’t mean following the orders and advice of central planners. It means cooperating with each other with the level of intricate coordination that only spontaneous orders like the price system are capable of. It means setting those spontaneous orders, especially the price system, free from the disruptive meddling of central planners.

If you want more toilet paper, if you want a strong recovery, if you want to avoid another Great Depression, set individuals free to cooperate through the price system, and prepare to be amazed.

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