The economics of blinking, or the case of disappearing gas and diesel

PDI Cartoon

When to blink is an art.  Do it too soon, and you’re “easy.”  Do it too late, and you run the economy to the ground. Two editorials, by the Tribune and Malaya, predict the blinking will happen sooner or later.  The Daily Inquirer opines that due obedience from industry players is “wishful thinking.”

What is this blinking all about?  Retail petroleum. The Executive has ordered a price freeze.  The industry claims they cannot sell profitably at the mandated price.  It is apparently a matter of when the inventory runs out. Then, the story goes, no more traffic.  No more pollution.  We can ride bicycles.  Not a bad sight for the Al Gore-Loren Legarda wannabees.  The smart ones (and I don’t refer to the ones making PCOS machines for May 2010) think it is a poker/bluff game.

But for now what does the average Juan consumer do?  Rationally, he fills up every tank he can find, and many have cars that just sit in the garage.  Some, more equal than others, have Ford Expeditions, which can hold a lot of gas.  So, Juan consumer will bring the day of inventory-run-out sooner than otherwise.  The so-called poker game will then have to be played out, and not in the World Series in Las Vegas.

This is supposedly an Economics 101 piece of cake.  The textbook  answer is to ration the available supply (give it only to the “deserving”) and to demand that those with “excess” gas give it back.  This is, interestingly, easier said than done.  Not even Wowowee can corral the gas-challeged into tv contests that promise a heavenly gas-available-at-low-prices dream.

Here’s a modest suggestion.  Declare independence from the Big Three.  Nationalize them all since at some point, it will become an Economic Emergency.  And let Manny (Pacquiao, of course) decide where the nationalized gas goes, and at what price.  Boxing is so much easier, but hey, everybody believes in the Pacman magic.  And thus and yet, all will live happily ever after.


2 thoughts on “The economics of blinking, or the case of disappearing gas and diesel

    1. How do you solve a problem like M (Microsoft, Maria, Warren B, etc.)? And let the hills come alive with the sound of clinking coins. Seriously, antitrust doesn’t work because, I think, it simply entrenches both sides into a cat-and-mouse game. Perhaps encouraging the little players to get bigger, or giving them special incentives might work.


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