9 June 2006 at 16:49 (transport)

Excuse me, I had an urge to prattle out some year 10 economics. I also felt the urge to italicise certain economic terms like my year 11 economics teacher did when he spoke:

The spike in the price of fuel over the weekend spurred comments on channel ten’s late news about how absurd it was that the price at the bowser was going to increase when the barrel price had dropped. Sure, the oil price may have experienced an acute depression however, in the greater scheme of things the price is still at an all time high.

Still should the consumer’s price increase over the weekend? The people doing the complaining are buying this good in a free market. According to the law of supply, the price of a good is proportional to the quantity demanded. Therefore, as the quantity demanded increases over the long weekend the price will also increase. If you don’t like it there are a few things you can do (the beauty of existing in a mixed-capitalist economic model); you could move to NZ where it is considered a social need and therefore not sold on the free market, you could work out a way to decrease demand so that the law of demand kicks in and knocks the price back, or according to Godwin’s Law of transport, you could ride a bike.



  1. nimeton said,

    Can I just clarify that the comments on Ten News were straight from the mouth of an RAA representative. Plus the report on the late news was a shortened, nationalised version of an SA report.

    “you could move to NZ where it is considered a social need”
    Yes, or Australia could adopt a NZ style system.

  2. nimeton said,

    The thing is I’ll have to buy fuel this long weekend for no other reason than i have to get to work. And, its really starting to hurt my bank balance. I can’t move to NZ, I can’t stop people going on holidays this long weekend, and I can absolutely see myself riding to Mt Barker.

    I think the effort put into protesting about petrol would be better spend developing cars with alternative fuel sources because fact is, cars are an unavoidable necessity for many people.

  3. Kent said,

    I can totally see you riding to Mt Barker as well.

  4. toto said,

    Yes, perhaps it should be considered a social need and subsidised by tax. But that wasn’t what the RAA guy was bitching about. He was saying that the price was going up because the fuel companies are greedy. That’s pathetic, it’s the way the free market operates, get used to it.

    I know two other people who catch the bus to Mt Barker for work. Is it fair that the price of bus tickets has gone up? The buses have to run on fuel… is that a social need? The truth is all transport (other than self propelled) is already highly subsidised by the tax payer. Most of the costs of maintaining the roads and cheapening bus tickets is covered with tax. Should we pay more tax to help those who live far away from their place of employment? Someone has to pay for the fuel, why shouldn’t it be the people who use it?

  5. nimeton said,

    Ok, So I’m working 11 to 4 on Monday and I’ve planned my bus route.

    Get on a bus at 8:19
    In Town by 8:45
    Wait in town for 35 minutes
    Get on bus at 9:20
    Get to Mt Barker at 10:28
    Wait in Mt Barker 32 Minutes
    Start Work 11am

    Finish Work 4pm
    Wait in Mt Barker 1 hour, 50 minutes
    Get on bus 7:03
    Wait in town 32 minutes
    Get on bus 7:35
    Back home by 8:08

    That is a grand total of 3 hours to get to work and 4 hours to get home from work making my travel time 7 hours for a 5 hour shift.

    So, yes, maybe I should catch a bus to work tomorrow plus 4-5 days of every week.\

    Oh and Adelaide Metro provides such a wonderful online trip planner service. Pity the same can’t be said for the actual busses.

  6. nimeton said,

    Oh and by the way… We pay for each politician to fly from every area in Australia to parliament, each time it sits. That sure uses up a lot of taxpayer fuel and money.
    Perhaps we should set up a heap of mini parliaments closer to these peoples homes or simply fire them and elect only act politicians to run the country because they live close to where the work is.

  7. nimeton said,

    One final point: The government is either going to have to further subsidise my petrol so I can work or they can simply give me full welfare benefits, healthcare benefits and rent assistance and I’ll simply study full-time instead.

    I’s suggest it would be cheaper to subsidise the petrol.

  8. toto said,

    I wasn’t saying that you should catch the bus, I was just asking how the rising price of bus tickets should be treated. Our fuel use isn’t sustainable, making it cheaper and easier for people to drive more is not going to improve this, in fact, people will drive more which will place a higher burden on the tax payer.

    I’ve always voiced opposition to the idea of living in Adelaide and working in Mt Barker. I wouldn’t do it.

  9. Kent said,

    Then why did you mention you knew people who catch the bus to Mt Barker for work? Either stop baiting each other, or fight in the open.

    Subsidising petrol is as strange an idea as deliberately taxing it to reduce demand. And I’m curious to know how the pure theoretical law of supply and demand manifests in a world of cartels and tarrifs – I don’t know, but I’m sure yr 11 economics students and Channel 10 reporters don’t know either.

  10. nimeton said,

    “i’ve always voiced opposition to the idea of living in Adelaide and working in Mt Barker. I wouldn’t do it.”

    last time i brought up the idea of living in mount barker i remember being told i was crazy for even thinking of such a thing. or more to the point kent told me i was crazy and you backed him up.

    perhaps i should move to mount barker and further isolate myself off from anything except work.

    Also, you seem to travel pretty far in a car for your work related needs. Granted, it’s less often than me but still… Would you be keen to quit your job and go and work for the IGA around the corner just because its close?

    ah well. i grow weary of this debate.

  11. toto said,

    okay, it was wrong to bait mentioning people who catch the bus to mt Barker. I meant to highlight that there are alternatives and I think the people who utilise these alternatives are probably the most unfairly effected by the rising petrol prices, but I don’t hear their voice. Do you think it’s any more convenient for all of the people who do use the public transport and live in the hills? Yet they continue to pay more tax to keep fixing the roads as car use increases. They continue to pay more for groceries as their supermarket bumps prices up to pay for the 4cent per litre discount. And their groceries are increasing in price anyway because the truck drivers are dealing with larger overheads due to increased oil demand. If they go to give blood the blood bank would pay for their parking but not their bus fare. My work will refund fuel, but bicycle power is valueless.. well if it’s of ‘no cost’ why aren’t there more bikes?

    Yes, subsidising petrol is a strange idea kent, but how else are the petrol prices going to be brought under control as demand increases and supply decreases? Who should pay,.. I assumed these people wanted the government to step in and fix the problem.. stabilise the price.. (or should we go to war and reclaim some oil fields?).. or have I missed the crux of the matter, is there a different, non-taxing – fuel bruning solution being offered?

    I wrote this entry on a hunch, that petrol sold on the free market would abide by some of the rules of free markets. After skimming through the (PDF) booklet produced by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,
    Understanding petrol pricing
    , I concluded that hunch wasn’t far off.

    In the context of economics, the law of supply and demand isn’t purely hypothetical, any economist knows it’s limitations. As far as I’m concerned, economics is a descriptive “science”, it investigates trends and derives laws that can then be used to make predictions in finance and human behaviour. When economics is taught these laws are presented with the caveat that the real world markets are complicated but they generally respond in these ways. It isn’t a mathematical certainty but it’s a good indicator… that’s how these laws manifests in a world of cartels and tariffs (see page 7 of the pdf, the reasons given allude that the reasons are complicated but supply and demand are dominant factors). The problem is, economists are traditionally a deluded lot, arguing that their field is a precise science alongside physics or chemistry or psychology (lol).

    Re: living in Adelaide, working in Mt Barker. I’m not saying you should move to Mt Barker Nimetön, quite the opposite, I think you should get work in Adelaide. I haven’t heard you say too many positive things about Mt Barker, you don’t like the place or the people. Every few weeks you complain about your boss and you’ve always complained about the distance. When you were looking for a place to live it was a question of which area you liked, you hated Mt Barker so moving there didn’t make sense, moving to Adelaide did because one of your goals/aims/ambitions was to spend less time near Mt Barker more time in Adelaide. Why don’t you get a job in the city: I imagine you wouldn’t like to because you like the department that you’re working in and you enjoy hanging out with the people up there outside of work. Fair enough, but it wouldn’t be enough to keep me up there. Yes, I would either change jobs or find a better way to travel.

    And maybe (hypothetically) I do travel pretty far in a car for work (well not for the last four months at least…), but I’ve never complained about the price of petrol. I do complain a fair bit about people complaining about the price of petrol, I think it’s quite unreasonable. Buying petrol is typically at least a partially avoidable cost, they could do some simple things towards reducing the costs before they start their bitching. If people actually care about the price they pay why do they cruise around town in V6s or drive across the state with half-deflated tires?

  12. Kent said,

  13. toto said,

    Yes, there is a straw-man element to my argument, however my final comment was tongue in cheek directed at nimeton. we drove his v6 halfway across the state before I mentioned checking the tire pressure (if that was what you were talking about…)

  14. Kent said,

    Oh really, I didn’t know that.

    Re your OS X hints page (which is nice and I have been going through it again since I got broadband), the link on remapping keys is very interesting but I’ve found this piece of software to be extremely good:

  15. toto said,

    yes, it was an inside joke.

    I’m glad you’ve been reading through the OS X page. wha? broadband, cool. I’ve used DoubleCommand in the past, i remapped the enter key to a second function key (fn) which was mighty useful for using pgup/pgdown and home/end keys with just the right hand. I stopped using it because I didn’t like how messy it looked as it loaded (i.e. I was getting some timeout errors while booting in verbose mode and this was at the time I was having hardware problems).

  16. Kent said,

    Any list of software with Quicksilver at the top is valuable! I don’t know how people use OS X without it, even considering Spotlight.

    This is interesting too:

    I enjoy seeing the harmonics in classical music especially, and the horse’s neigh in Frontier Psychiatrist is distinctive. I’m still looking for other interesting songs to watch.

  17. toto said,

    Kudos to quicksilver. Nice plugin, check out why do I try so hard, it starts off with a monophonic ring tone.. that’s some sweet harmonics (^_^)

  18. toto said,

    or The Rockafella Skank, by fatboy slim.. from about the 4 minute mark.. when the siren comes in – psychedelic

  19. Kent said,

    Heh, whoa. Try the beginning of All I Need (Air).

    And Hontograph seems a little better:

  20. toto said,

    yeah. hontograph is more vivid… the contrast in spectrograph could be improved perhaps.. but I like the stereo comparison. Check out Run, off Talkie Walkie (Air).. that’s interesting viewing…

  21. Kent said,

    if you turn the range in hontograph to ‘interesting’, Don’t You Know Who I Am (one of the hottest 100s) is cool.

    This might look good with opera, too? Don’t have any :D

  22. toto said,

    works well with D&B/electronica.. i.e. pendulum‘s Girl in the Fire. What I really would like to see though, is to get a recording of the output of some of this and check out how it looks (you hear and see some crazy harmonics, sound cancelling and interesting patterns..)

  23. Kent said,

    That is completely weird.

  24. toto said,

    Michelle thought it was cool. Dad listened to all of them. I want to build a mechanical model one day. (lots of little cars, each travelling at the same speed and each with a different size reed which is plucked as they move under a fence. Or if I become mega-rich I’ll do it with full sized cars each with differently pitched horns)

  25. Kent said,

    Mmmm. That would be a very interesting challenge.

  26. nimeton said,

    tisk,,., this explains why kent is still in bed. dunno about one matthew thow.

    yes quicksilver… its on my ‘things to download’ to do list :s

  27. Kent said,

    Didn’t go to bed until 8am ;)

  28. toto said,

    I don’t know when I went to bed.. it was after 6… but to cure your curiosity nimetön, I was well and truly up when you posted.

    what was I doing.. well most relevantly, I found the blog of the guy who built that psychedelic music spiral thing, Jbum. and then i stumbled upon his musicbox midi collection.. I then converted one into a mp3 to look at in itunes. results were okay. it’s kind of cool to see the two or three ‘melodies’ slowly collide.

  29. nimetön said,

    just downloaded that mp3… it is very, very quite on my ibook, even at full volume. but i gather the point was to look not to listen.

    Having no musical background what so ever this is all very confusing but looks rather cool none the less. “psychedelic music spiral thing” … must read that guys blog more.

  30. Kent said,

    Much easier and far more rewarding in real life.

  31. Kent said,

    Hmm yes looking at those midis now. Interesting, again.

  32. Belatedly said,

    I don’t know if you have any Tool, but they are interesting with the spectrograph. Particularly the track “Third Eye”, with a sine wave near the beginning and a cool synthesizer effect at 2:30 ish. Their songs seem to be heavily modified.

  33. toto said,

    And naturally, interesting colour effects for “(-) Ions” :p

  34. toto said,

    (okay that last comment was originally by the belated kent, but I deleted it and can’t be bothered correcting the name.. damn wordpress)… anyway. Yeah, I have some tool, but no – ions.. that would be cool.

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