The issue with block-buys
@Ian - the problem is that when you corner the market, the free market ideals go away.
Given: There is a small percentage of people (say, 10%) who can pay ten, twenty times more than your average bloke for a ticket, and a further 10% who are willing to pay quite a bit more. But most can just afford the normal price (as this is how the normal price is set).
Given: If you block-buy tickets, you set the price for all tickets.
So, to simplify things, I buy every ticket - 100 of them - for an event for $100 a pop.
So, I spent $10,000 on tickets. Now I have a few options.
I can raise the price by 25%. But the market is highly elastic, so I'll probably end up with just about $10k again, since the wealthiest people will buy at the raised price and I'll make only as much on them as on the normal people.
However, if I sell the tickets for $1000 and $500 a piece, things get fun.
10 people buy at $1000 - and now I've made back my investment.
Another 10 people buy at $500, and now I've made $5000 clear profit.
So now 20 people are going to attend, 80 can't, I've made $5000, and the event people have made $10000.
So, the results aren't because *all* the tickets are worth $1000 - the results are because there was a monopoly on the market allowing the seller to capitalize on the ability of a few people to pay far, far more than most people.
True, this is how a totally free market works. But in this scenario the only people who benefit are the scalpers; the rich people pay more than they would have otherwise, the normal people don't get to go at all, and the event organizers, while they make their money, have an event with empty seats - but this only affects them in the long-term, so short-term they have an incentive to allow block buys.
You can, of course, have a completely unregulated economy. But there are cases like this where a certain amount of regulation prevents people from screwing up the system for everybody else.
What should that regulation be? Hard to say. I think it's probably more along the lines of preventing block buys greater than N% of the available market, but it's hard to say.