I was going to stay out, but I just can't....
"There can never be anything unethical about selling a luxury item at market prices. (Ethics come into play only when pricing necessity items, and then too only in rare ‘special cases’.)"
"There can never be anything unethical about selling a hand made cloth diaper on a free market for any price; whether the price a voluntary buyer is paying for it is $70 or $700 or $7000. Period"
"This line of thought boils down to a communist ideology where everybody is obliged to do give what they have or can produce according to ability and everybody is entitled to the same material goods (and eventually essentially nobody gets anything)."
"it is the choices of the primary sellers that dictates who gets to be a primary buyer.
If they choose to sell the items in a situation which would give those with the fastest internet connection a huge advantage, and they see their items being immediatly resold on the secondary market at higher prices, then it is up to the primary seller to reconsider if this is okay with them. "
Ok, this is one ethical standpoint, but, while persuasively stated, it is not the only one. In order to accept that there can never be anything unethical about sellling luxury items at market prices, one must also assume that the existence of said luxury items in no way impacts the existence/quality/availability of necessity items. If drug companies are busy producing viagra because there is a great luxury market for it, they are not investing in the production of drugs for aids or diabetes or cancer etc. So the line between luxury items and necessity items is not as clear cut as Angelica's perspective suggests.
Second, saying that something is the eqivalent of a communist/socialist ideology is not in and of itself an argument against it. One must explain why such an ideology is undesireable.
Third, what is the meaning of "fair market value?" What makes "market" value better than "use" value, or the value of labor and materials? We are often told it is because the market is not biased. It is the "invisible hand," and hence not subjective in the way that other determinations of value might be. But, the market does not exist in a vacuum. Markets exist in real worlds with real inequalities and injustices, and inevitably reflects those injustices. There is nothing sacred about the market. It is only as fair and just and valuable as we make it. A "market" requires an infrastructure of buyers and sellers (ours happens to be characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty), it requires rules of the game to govern its operation, and it requires a way to generate demand for items (such as a discussion forum where hype can create artificial demand). All of these things are subjective and biased. Ebay, for example, has rules against bidding up one'e own item. According to Angelica's ethics, this rule is unnecessary. As long as the buyer "voluntarily" (and we could also debate the meaning of voluntary) puts in her bid, why should it matter if the seller is jacking up the price by bidding on her own item?
Finally, perhaps it is worth thinking about why it is that acts of charity can raise someone's standing in a community. Presumably we honor such acts because we see value in placing the preservation of communal ties (and the mitigation of poverty, inequality,and injustice that strong community requires) above mere self-interest. It makes perfect sense for a community or nation to cultivate such a communal attitude by developing an ethical perspective that discourages avarice and greed.
Ethics are typically pretty context dependent and require a bit of thought. It may not always be the case that selling an elbee on ebay is indicative of avarice or greed. Perhaps the seller is in a difficult financial situation and needs to make some money. In that case perhaps they would choose to do something (sell on ebay) that they would not normally do. We might alter our ethical stance if we take these mitigating circumstances into account. But, that does not mean that under normal circumstances the seller would choose ebay. Claiming that you are selling on ebay due to unusual circumstances just underlines the fact that under normal circumstances you would probably not make that choice. We all know that you can recoup your entire investment for an elbee on the TP, so choosing to sell on ebay is a choice to get as much as possible. I would define that as greed and see no reason why a community shouldn't discourage such an attitude under normal circumstances.
Angelica, I do appreciate your very thoughtful comments. I think this is exactly what the op had in mind. I do not think this thread is ridiculous (or at least it is no more ridiculous than debating the merits of velour v sherpa). I clearly disagree with your perspective, but I wish we could have more such discussions. I have truly enjoyed reading the entire thread. Now, I need to pick my middle aged boobs up off the floor and get the babes to bed!