Al Fin at his blog discusses why shelves are empty in many grocery stores. I’ve honestly wondered about this: are we really short of needed food supplies and other items? Things are becoming scarce in many places and that itself seems to inspire more fear and compulsive buying. I think Al Fin’s post sheds some light on what is happening.
He does mention the role of the media in creating the mindset that causes the public to panic:
Unfortunately, too much of western news media is constantly focused on creating anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. There are underlying political reasons why the managing interests of media outlets attempt to manipulate the emotions of those who consume their product. The brighter persons in the population learn to tune the media out as much as possible. The alternative is to live in a state of chronic anxiety.