April 29, 2006

"High" Gas Prices - A Few Thoughts.

It's amusing to see the kind of troubles that afflict the Americans in these times of "high" gas prices. Here are some of them.

1. A student of Brandeis University (Boston) not being able to visit New York every weekend to see her boyfriend;

2. A history major at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut deciding against a cross-country summer trip to California;

3. A junior at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. stuck at a "not-much-fun-in-summer" college town;

4. A 19-year old in Ohio missing his 25-mile monthly gift-giving trip to his girlfriend.

All this and more here

I don't know about you, but I feel a sort of perverse satisfaction seeing Americans' panic reaction to the slightest disturbance in their extremely shallow lives that revolve around meaningless consumption.

Two quick clarifications.

One, I have no way of establishing whether the panic reaction is actually felt by the people in general. I am only referring to the evident panic shown by the politicians and the media.

Two, I am sensitive to the hardships this may cause to the poorer sections of the society. But, I believe, expensive gas is not a cause of their misery. At most, it only intensifies it. Instead of exhibiting a dramatic concern for their lot, it would be far more prudent to attend to the causes of their lot.

Does anyone realize that even now Americans pay less for their gas than most others in the world? Can anyone see how much of their lives is defined by irresponsibly frivolous habits shaped by cheap gas? Is the American hypocrisy of protecting corn farmers of Iowa by high tariffs on Brazilian ethanol evident to anybody?

These are a few things worth pondering upon amidst all this hue and cry over "high" gas prices.


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