Everyone’s an economist, me included

Smarty-pants claims cost of fuel can be lowered by boycotting driving

In Summary

• Makini is schooled by a denizen on how to modify the demand and supply curve


The current state of affairs as pertains to our economy has everyone on edge, but it also has me using phrases such as “as pertains to”. I’m not even sure I know exactly what it means, but I have been reading and watching the news more frequently than I’m wont to.

See? There I go again, using words whose existence I’d ordinarily dispute. But I’m not alone.

Ordinary people (even some who ate their school fees) are walking around, flinging about such terms as “monetary policy”, “inflation”, and “demand and supply”.

“What we need to do is modify the demand and supply curve,” a fellow Jiji Ndogo denizen tells me, oozing the confidence of a college professor. “You know what I mean?”

“No, Mjomba,” I say. “I haven’t the slightest clue.”

“It’s simple. You see, petrol prices are up only because demand for crude is so high. We basically live, eat, sleep and breath the damn thing. But you know what? We have the capability to bring demand down. You know what I mean?”

“I’m still at sea, Mjomba. Whatever do you mean?”

“Okay. What do oppressed workers do to demand higher wages?”

“Higher? I thought we’re supposed to lower demand, not raise it.”

“I’ll tell you, Afande, they down their tools and refuse to work. That’s what we need to do.”

“Down our tools?”


“How will not going to work lower petrol prices?”

“Oh, no. We still go to work, but instead of riding or driving there, we walk. See?”

“But I always walk to work.”

“Good for you. Others should follow suit. None of us should drive. Then we’ll see who the Arabs will sell their juice to.” He taps his noggin. “Smart, no?”

For a few seconds, I think over it. “No driving at all?”

“None! Zilch. We ground all motor vehicles.”

“What about planes?”

“No flights going anywhere. No ships either.”

“What about trains? I hear they’re quite fuel-efficient.”

“Nonsense. That’s what The Man wants you to think. Trust me, Officer Makini, if we boycott oil, Salman will come begging us to get back on the wheel.”

“And ‘The Man’ is this Salman fella? Never heard of him.”

“The Man, Makini. The powers that be. The leaders, the government. You think we’re living in a crisis? It’s all made-up. Global wars? Made up. Global hunger? Made up.”

“Global warming?”

“That one’s real, actually, and it all goes back to oil. See? We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. For instance, take the current state of affairs as pertains to our economy, right?” he says.

“We’re wallowing in high prices and low employment figures. How does The Man want to salvage the situation? Higher taxes! How would that even work?”

“I know. The taxes replenish the government’s coffers. That way, it’s able to serve us better.”

“What about corruption?”

“You keep talking in circles.” Now I’m getting a bit exasperated. “Corruption doesn’t put money back into the government, it takes it out.”

“Exactly, copper. Let me put it simply. Let’s say you have a leaking mtungi, right? You have no choice but to fetch water in it, but the more you fill it, the faster it leaks. What do you do?”

“I know this one. You plug in the holes first.”

“Well said, copper. Well said. If first we eradicate all the corruption, no one will complain when asked to contribute into the mtungi.”

“You know what? That makes more sense than your idea of a world without cars.”

“How so?”

“How would the police chase criminals if we all didn’t drive?”

“Are you kidding me?” He laughs. “The criminals would also be on foot!”

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