One of the things that struck me was the attitude of a lot of the interviewees toward the market. The manager of a Dupont Circle retailer said "When I first started getting crazy beers that weren't yet on most people's radar, the temptation was strong to jack the prices up. The logic was that the people who wanted them would pay for them. The few shops around town who had them would charge a whole lot. So we figured the market could bear it, and we aligned our prices accordingly. After a while, a spirit of fairness settled in. We've come back from the dark side."
A wholesaler who is described as practically having a monopoly in DC said "Just because I'm the only one who can sell it, I'm not going to jack up the price. That's just ethically wrong."
Some of this could simply be posturing, of course. But we shouldn't discount the extent to which market activity itself has utility or disutility. A lot of people ignore the social import of market institutions when they talk about economics. Non-market allocation is considered automatically suspect, as are allegedly "non-market" motivations in markets.