The Lesson of That United Airlines Incident
The usual claim is that United Airlines incident proves Big Business can get away with anything. I thought the large drop in its stock price in the immediate aftermath proved that it could not actually get away with anything.
As for “What were they thinking?” … The people who set limits on payments to passengers to encourage them to leave voluntarily may have been influenced by the belief that such payments are somehow dishonorable and selecting people by lot is the fairest system. That, in turn, may have been based on the plausible theory that poor people would be more likely to let themselves be bumped as a result of payments.
In other words, this incident may have been due to the anti-market mentality.