…is from pages 79-80 of the 2016 Mercatus Center re-issue of Don Lavoie’s 1985 book National Economic Planning: What is Left?
[O]ne can argue that just as an articulated statement only carries meaning to other people because of a shared denominational background in unarticulated assumptions about the use of language, so too do articulated prices only carry meaning to those who calculate with them because of a shared background in unarticulated assumptions about the characteristics of the priced goods and services. Just as articulated statements in science constitute an indispensable aid to our advancement of a largely inarticulate understanding of the world, so too do articulated prices provide an indispensable service to our largely inarticulate production activities. But neither articulated statements nor posted prices have any meaning when divorced from their inarticulate foundations.
JMM: In the wake of any disaster, we see a great effort by many people to unmoor prices from their inarticulate foundations via price gouging legislation. But when this is done, the meaning of the price becomes skewed and sends confusing messages to those who have to deal with the price. Its meaning becomes obscure and gibberish, much like how an understanding of sunlight would become gibberish if the word was divorced from the idea of sunlight.
Prices convey information. We may not like what that information is, but pretending it does not exist is not helpful.