Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Muffin Jam

Suppose you know that for our health, shortbread is better than muffin. By that, substituting muffin with shortbread in our diet is good. Yet, many people, as they love muffin, understandably, will not alter their diet to shortbread by persuasion, even for the noble purpose such as public health.

In anticipation to that, the cafe introduces more shortbread at low price, and due its limited capacity, they can not provide you with muffin as many as before. And, it's a small wonder that muffin eaters grumble. They complain that muffin is now hard to find.

But on the second thought, wouldn't it be the perfectly predictable, and desirable, effect --to make the muffin relative price to shortbread rises? Sooner or later, they will respond and switch to shortbread, and as time goes, switching will be less painful.

Now, replace health, shortbread, muffin, the cafe, muffin relative price increase, and switching responsiveness; with travel time, the busway, driving your private car, Jakarta busy thoroughfares,traffic jam, and elasticity of substitution. I hope by now you get the idea, thanks to Econ 101.

Oh, and the muffin eaters/grumblers, they are the popular voices oftenly appear in newspapers, TVs, and, well, politicians' words. Just want to say: come off it, mates!


  1. I agree wholeheartedly that in the long run, more shortbread and less muffins would lead to a healthier general public.
    But it's just rather frustrating to have muffin access cut down weeks before the shortbread is available.

    Two hour travel times for a commute that regularly takes 40 minutes, just because there's no viable alternative. I just wish they'd hurry up with the busway lines already.

  2. Fik, speeding up the baking of shortbread would be the right answer, wouldn't it? Not asking for a halt --nor annoyingly parking your expensive SUV inside the kitchen, blocking the whole process, like what I saw in one pic taken in south Jakarta the other day.

  3. one of my friends has really good humour when he suggested people to use bicycle instead of motorcycle or car.

    in his opinion,these days it is the latest, hopefully the healthiest,not to mention most fashionable life style.

    in addition, it boost our popularity since it makes us look mightily environtment-wise.

    do you guys have anything to say to this?

  4. Gde,

    Riding a bike to office...that means (given the likelihood of motorist in Jakarta) you running the risk of being overrun by cars, elbowed my motorcylicst, shoved by buses, not to mention all those pollution. If you want to avoid all that you have to leave very early in the morning, say 3-4 AM. And when you get to the office you have to take another shower just to wash off those sweats. Possible but it's highly inefficient, not a good way of commuting, unless you live very close to your office.


    What's with you and those muffins?

  5. Yes, Zal.. what's with you and those muffins? What happen to our old time favorite: pisang bakar Kemang depan Jimbani..? :-)

  6. Gde, as Pasha said, it's only feasible when you live near your working place, that, in economic jargon, your marginal benefit of riding the bike (being healthy and look enviromentally cool) exceed all the additional hassles, or marginal cost.

    The problem with Jakarta, millions live in the suburbs and work in the city. But, hey, I am talking about muffin, no? :-)

    Pasha and Ap, it's just a matter of practicality, dudes. Pisang bakar or pecel lele, tasty as it is, has two words, muffin one, and it sounds nice to me. Ap, I know you're class-sensitive :-).

  7. Rizal,

    Given your obsession with muffins :-), I think you should see this episode of Seinfeld. There's a lot of econ puns in that episode if you watch it carefully.

  8. Pasha, when it comes to food related, i still think The Soup Nazi episode rules for Seinfeld. that and Fat Free Yoghurt one.

    and Rizal, you can always have my muffin top any given time. god i HATE them...!

  9. Pasha and Detta, too bad, I don't know anything about Seinfield, except that the main character's name is Jerry, no?