Well, Claire, you are mentioned in Pam's public profile, so you are claiming NO connection?
When talking about pricing and ethics we need to distinguish between necessity items and luxury items. Necessity items are needed for sustaining life (and health = primary needs) while luxury items are wanted to fulfill other needs after an individuals basic needs are met. 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 gourmet meal for $60 if there is a fast food place and grocery store next doors. Sure many of us might want to have same champagne and caviar occasionally, but it is not necessary to our survival or health. There can never be anything unethical to sell a Mercedes for $70,000 because a car is not a necessity item and even if it would be there are viable options at the Honda dealership for less than $20,000 (not to talk about the second hand market).
A hand made cloth diaper with a strong brand and a market value of over $70 is a luxury item. Nobody’s life or health is dependent on it. There is a plethora of more affordable options on the market. 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.
Ethics and market pricing can only come into conflict when someone’s life and health is in danger. It is unethical of me not to give a glass of water from my well in the middle of a dessert to a man dying of thirst even if he would not have the 50 cents that might be the correct market price for it. As a human being it is unethical for me to watch him die.
When it comes to pricing, ethics apply directly only to necessity items, which cloth diaper are not, no matter how much you would prefer one brand over another.
So, “Is it ethical to sell diapers for more than the primary producer asks for a new one?”
Of course it is. Either the producer sells it under fair market value (= what people would be buying them for and thus performs an act of charity) or the reseller has contributed to marketing and made it available to customers who were not connected to the primary producers first hand market and has thus added value to the whole process. No losers, only winners. If the seller wouldn’t have put the item on sale in the first place, nobody would have gotten it. Since she did the buyer who voluntarily paid $70 obviously thought she was better off doing this, the seller is better of since she voluntarily put it for sale AND the primary producer is better off thanks to, among other things, proved secondary market for her products à increases primary demand à a given benchmark for adjusting the primary market prices (which she could decide not to do and this could yet benefit her in another form discussed later).
If somebody claims that the secondary seller who has bought for $20 and now sells for $70 should sell for less than the market value (= voluntary bids) she claims in fact in economic terms that the seller is obliged to do an act of charity equal to the difference of the fair market value and the lower price, in this case $50. Now, this somebody needs to make her case. Why is the seller obliged to this act of charity? Because there is scarcity in this world? Because not everybody gets all luxury items they want? 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).
To make her case, this somebody would need to show that a specific person is in life or health threatening danger and that this charity of $50 would save her AND that out of the 6.7 billion people on this planet the seller is among those who are morally obliged to save her (since she has the means and the object of charity is in such close proximity to her that the moral obligations falls on her based on community or family ties rather than on some closer family or community member to the person in need.)
It should be clear that no such moral obligation to charity can be proven in this case.
To me it is obvious that people making arguments based on ‘morals’ in this case subconsciously think that if the seller would be willing to sell for less than $70, lets say $35, they themselves would snatch the luxury item at hand. They forget that at this price there would be more willing buyers than at the price of $70 where we in our example had only one buyer, the highest bidder. Who gets too decide which one of these, lets say 15 persons, who would be willing to pay $35 gets the item? Some sort of lottery? The losers would be the person who wanted the diaper for $70, if the buyer who was only willing to pay $40 gets it for $35, as well as the seller who got $35 for the diaper who had a buyer at $70. We would have a $5 winner, $35 looser and the person who wanted the item most (in dollar terms) didn’t even get it.
The free market is, has always been and will always bee the most efficient and just distribution system for luxury items, such as hand made cloth diapers.
It is however noteworthy that the sellers, both the primary producer and the secondhand seller, have the opportunity to sell their diapers a below market values, thus performing acts of charity. Acts of charity can substantially raise an individuals standing in a community. We could have a situation where the second hand market price for a product could be $70 even in the longer term (if supply in the second hand market would not catch up to demand) while the primary market price would be $20. In a while it would be generally known that the primary producer constantly performs an act of charity equal to giving away $50 when she sells an item (assuming that items are constantly selling at $70 in the secondary market) and she could benefit through a higher social standing in her community. It of course depends largely how she chooses to allocate these free $50 pieces of cloth (= who gets to buy in the primary market when she is flooded with orders since ‘everybody knows’ the diapers are worth $70 on eBay).
It seems to me that there are some primary producers in the cloth diaper market selling their products at below market values, thus performing acts of charity and benefiting in social standing (aka reputation). This does not however lead to a moral obligation to anybody else to sell below market prices.
From a potential buyers viewpoint (who is willing to pay only $35 for a diaper) it might be a viable strategy to try to induce guilt in those operating in a voluntary free market by claiming that there is something unethical in their actions. If an obligation to charity can’t be proved these claims are unfounded. Since handmade cloth diapers are clearly luxury items I do not believe this can be done.
But Angelbee is right--I think I've spent too much energy on this topic.