In economics, there is a type of product called "Veblen good" that does not contradicts the normal supply-and-demand relationships. For a normal good, a decrease in supply corresponds to an increase in price, leading to a corresponding drop in demand as consumers reduce consumption and/or seek out cheaper substitutes for the now more expensive product. But for a Veblen good, while decrease in supply also leads to a price increase, demand actually surges, with consumers assigning higher value to the good due to the higher price of the good.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
at 8:29 PM
The author has been living in the town of Iringa for so long that, not entirely deliberately, he has become a frequent customer in many of the town's local eateries. Given that it is rather unusual to see Chinese people hanging out in local eateries to begin with, he has become a largely recognizable face among the staff of these eateries. And as a recognizable face, he is often treated with smiles, handshakes, and quite a bit of eagerness with it comes to being informed of what are on the menu and recommended for the day. For the longest time, the author simply thought such behaviors are just the norms of how staff in food places talk.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
at 7:28 PM
A few years back, the author was traveling through the city of Hamburg in northern Germany during his vacation days as a Master's student. Perhaps one of the most shocking (at least to the author) was how the subway trains crisscrossing the city did not have actual entrance gates in most stations. Instead of a series of gates where commuters had to stick their train tickets into before emerging on the other side so that they can proceed to the train platforms, the Hamburg metro simply had ticket machines inside the trains to validate tickets, while the stations themselves simply connected to the outside without restraint on entry or exit.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
at 2:55 AM
About a year ago, the author wrote about how few people here in Iringa carry umbrellas and do not mind being in the rain. It was just another when the author was taking a motorcycle taxi across town when the rains started to fall heavily. The author did have an umbrella in his hand, but the motorcycle was going way too fast for it to be opened. Even as the drizzles turned into downpours, the author did not even attempt to get the motorcycle driver to slow down or stop. As his clothes grew wetter from the rains, he realized that he stopped minding being in the rains...in a way more Tanzanian, maybe.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
at 5:59 PM
What does being "American" mean? When hearing the word, one can usually conjure the pictures of loud being with distinctive accents proudly talking about the wealth and power of their home country, the global ubiquitous pop culture, and voicing their worries at the current political directions. Inevitably (and often quite obviously), these same people will have citizenship of the USA. Without the need to elaborate, the fact that they have the citizenship of the USA makes them America, and entitle them to speak of the country's culture, politics, and wealth in a matter-of-fact, this-is-my-business manner.