Unless I totally misread him, I think John Mangun is saying that, with the current increase in prices of goods and services, we are merely experiencing the darkest hours before dawn.
In stark contrast to the gloom and doom being peddled over at Filipino Voices, Mangun opines that:
Now, the difference between the “future” price and the “spot” price is narrowing, indicating that the momentum is changing, and soon, the “spot” price will move the “future” price and that direction will be down.
In other words, while things will keep on getting worse for a while yet, the turning of the tide is no longer too far off. When things get too pricey, after all, people will stop buying; when people stop buying, demand falls; and when demand falls, so too will the price of things.
But as wonderful as that news is, I can’t help but be struck by the differences in approach taken by these two writers, especially since they’re talking about the same basic thing: the increasing cost of living.
Where Gagelonia rhapsodizes about “perfect storms” – I swear, if I ever meet the guy who made that movie, I am going to hurt him so bad for adding yet another term to the lexicon of filipino melodrama – and dire predictions and exhorts us to “hang on” as though we were about to go off the edge of the world. Mangun , on the other hand, chooses to tell us that this isn’t world’s end.
The difference in points-of-view is important to acknowledge because the first – Gagelonia’s take – does nothing but increase the sense of despair already pervading our nation. And he does so gratuitously, gleefully predicting darker times. But of course, since he’s a juh-nah-list, he’s allowed to do that, isn’t he? HAH! And juh-nah-lists have no responsibility other than to tell the story they want to sell; never mind if it destroys a nation’s faith in itself, and by necessary implication, it’s ability to look beyond its despair and so get on the road to recovery.
Imagine what the outcome of WWII would have been if Churchill had not talked incessantly of victory even in the darkest days. Imagine what it would have been like if journalists constantly dwelt on how numerically superior the Japanese invaders were compared to our guerillas. The determination to win would have been pummeled and quite possibly snuffed out.
And it’s even worse today. At least, during the war, if you felt frustrated, it was perfectly alright to go out and whack a few enemies. When you’re frustrated with economics, on the other hand, who do you whack? LOL! You could maybe drive a truck into a crowd of late afternoon pedestrians and start stabbing people with a salad fork. Or you could shoot some kids in the playground now and say “I don’t like mondays.”
Mangun’s approach, by contrast, was a sober assessment of a singularly thorny situation; one which laid out the problem (high prices) but which also demonstrated that the problem is not insurmountable. Where Gagelonia insinuates that we’ve nothing to look forward to but crap, Mangun attempts to show that there is hope. And, as Pandora found out, hope matters.
And for us especially, hope is what we need if we are to actually turn the tide at some point. Just like the basic law of economics Mangun was citing – about how there is a point when prices rise so high that deman simply drops off – there is a basic law of human psychology that if you batter the psyche long and hard enough, it will reach a point where it just accepts defeat as an inevitability. In the face of a sustained barrage of gloom and doom, higher goals are abandoned, defeatism becomes the default, and mediocrity becomes the acceptable human condition.
And that, is simply not acceptable.
Filed under: musings, Quick Posts, commodities, defeatism, Filipino Voices, John Mangun