I had a conversation with an individual the other day regarding the price mechanism. His argument, essentially, was that since he was unhappy with the price for the good/service he was attempting to purchase, there must be some kind of market failure and therefore the government needed to step in and impose a price ceiling. With respect to this individual, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Prices are signals. They are no different from a traffic light or Yield sign. If a traffic light turns red as you are hurrying toward some destination, would you claim there was some sort of traffic light malfunction? Of course not.
It is important to remember all resources are scarce, no matter how vital they are to life: food, water, medical care, electricity, labor, plastics, oil, trees, and even time itself, are all limited in number. Prices adjust to reflect this: when the price of a certain good/service is relatively low, it means there is a relative abundance of the good/service. When prices are high, there is a relative shortage.
When prices rise, the consumers of that good/service aren’t happy. Assuming all else equal, they can now afford less of the good/service. But that doesn’t mean the prices are wrong or there is something wrong with the system. It simply means the good/service is now more scarce than before. If governments impose price controls, it can encourage over-consumption of the good/service, making the shortage even worse.
Prices are signals: ignore or manipulate them at your own peril.