Monday, July 02, 2007

The invisible hand

Economics is an interesting subject, but it's one I don't know a lot about. I do, however, understand supply and demand, and here we have an interesting (and somewhat disturbing) illustration of those forces at work:
The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

NAN surveyed prices in the northeastern state of Gombe and found that a good quality machete was now selling for 400 naira ($3) compared with 800 naira before the elections, which were marred by politically motivated violence in many states.

"A price survey on machetes, which served as a popular weapon among political thugs in the state, indicated ... a drop in the price of the implement," NAN reported over the weekend.

Machetes are primarily used as a tool for farming in Nigeria but they are also popular among political gangsters.

"Before the conduct of the general elections, I was selling a minimum of seven machetes daily but can hardly sell one a day now," said Usman Masi, a trader quoted by NAN.
The article goes on to say that around two hundred people were killed during the months of campaigning before the elections, so I guess that puts our "divisive" political climate in perspective, huh?

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