Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sudan: Forget boycotts, buy a calculator

Last week the humble people of Sudan - which is south of Egypt, but north of South Sudan - decided to come together, for the first time since, since, since.. decided to come together. Everyone seemed to agree on the fact that basic commodities became too expensive. This increase in commodity prices was part of a policy implemented by the government to help stabilize the economy bla bla bla.. sensitive camels and prostitutes.

This lead to an unfathomable increase in prices. Even red things like tomatoes became expensive. Sheep became lobsters. And cooking oil seems to have suddenly been extracted from Siberian tigers. Basically, you would have needed a bank statement to buy a burger.

So the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society decided to call for a mass boycott of all meat products, including chicken - which is a meat apparently. Most people joined in on the boycott. Which is surprising, given the recent trends of impervious attitudes towards the country's dire situation. Nonetheless, this boycott had a significant effect on the market. Apparently, a kilo of lamb went from an embarrassing 30 SDG right down to a very random 15 SDG.

This is very well. But all these numbers seem arbitrary. They're too whole and too divisible by each other and other normal numbers. Why aren't there any decimal places? And how could a two day meat boycott bring down the price so significantly?

You can't help but think that the so called government controlled market is not controlled at all, nor is it government. The austerity measures taken by the government targeted imported goods. But meat in Sudan is a local commodity. Sudan doesn't import meat, it actually exports it. So how is it that meat - which comes from local sheep, local cows and apparently local chickens - decided to be expensive? You can only assume that it was a decision taken by the meat itself, because no human would have such preposterous logic.

I find it very difficult to understand economic trends in Sudan. It might be my poor knowledge of economics, or the government's poor knowledge of economics, and lack of common sense, and incompetence, and stupidity, and abundance of safari suits. But, most economic trends in Sudan are not trends at all, they're in fact sudden occurrences. The government seems to lack that thing that gives people a bit of an insight into the future, what's it called? Oh right, planning.

What's more worrying is the inconsistency of statistical data regarding the economy. Various articles on the meat boycott quoted different numbers regarding Sudan's dependence on meat exports. The range was 1.68% to a ridiculous 40%. Not even butchers make 40% of their income from selling meat. So no one actually knows how much meat - or any other export, be it sand or black people - actually contributes to the country's economy.

So, instead of boycotting things that don't make sense, every Sudanese person should buy a calculator and start doing some numbers. Because no matter how much you boycott, if it's all fictitious and arbitrary, all your doing really is denying butchers a living. And obviously prolonging the sheep's lives; the sheep themselves don't want that, they're probably organizing group suicides right now.

I bought a calculator, yes I did; it's a Casio fx-83MS - which sounds like a power ranger's fantasy. And I did some numbers. It turns out that in order for meat exports to contribute 40% to the Sudanese economy, one sheep would have to be sold for around $4,000.71 - see, decimals. A sheep. Just one. It's unrealistic, and so is every other number I've come across.

Yes, the melioristic approach to the evermore demanding standards of living is a good thing, and the proof that the espirit de corps of the Sudanese population has not yet diminished has made us all proud, but what are we fighting for? Lesser arbitrary numbers?

It's easy to be perturbed by such events, but it's actually easier for such events to occur when economic policies are made around a tea lady wearing socks to repel sexual gestures. So let's not boycott randomness, let's boycott ugly people, since they're all in the government.


Mimz said...

According to a recent statement by the governor of Khartoum, those who can't afford life in the capital must pack their bags and leave to rural areas where, apparently, meat costs the same but land, however is considerably cheaper. Take note of that in case you're planning to buy a piece of land in Sinnar to start a cupcake business there.
The governor went on to announce that prices (of land) won't go down and neither will the citizens be granted free houses. He concluded by saying: "wal ma 3ajbo yel7as koo3o".

I can safely testify that the statistics of Sudanese citizens who lick their elbows on a daily basis in protest of the continuously increasing prices of commodities are staggering, and are expanding everyday.

However, the government has made it clear that less time should be spent on elbow-licking and focus should be made on the people's mass migration to other affordable regions (neighboring countries are favored).

This is to leave room for al-Bashir, his 77 ministers and 103,489,433 minions to rule Khartoum without the hassle of having to deal with civilians.

On a completely irrelevant note, I leave you with the words of a wise and industrially-oriented dictator, "we will not present the ICC with as much as a cat, for a cat's skin may be used to produce markoob (shoes)."

Moez Ali said...

Well, according to a theory that I have not yet published - because it's not entirely mine, but I will claim it anyway - what the authorities do in Sudan is pure imitation of what they see, or hear, in their vacations in the GCC. Which is in itself an imitation of what the GCC authorities see in their vacations in Europe and the American States of United.

So, since Mohammed Bin Rashid said if you can't afford to live in Dubai get the f*** out, so should the governor of Khartoum. There is some logic to it. Both countries have oil, and both countries speak Arabic.

Migration, however, is not the solution. The solution is in the eyes of the beholder.. of the crack pipe. So, let's all smoke weed and we might just realise that these policies do make sense.

On elbows and licking, I think this is a direct consequence of poverty. Apparently, a human's elbow excretes a very nutritious fluid. Don't tell the Somalians thought.

Mimz said...

It seems a lot of Sudanese governmental officials and prominent businessman these days are highly influenced by Dubai. It makes me wonder, perhaps this is all some sort of propaganda as a result of a deal between the governments of UAE and Sudan where the latter has signed on to import slaves en masse, since recent studies have proven black people are more efficient than those of other ethnicities with regard to hard labor and enduring the sun's heat. If they are paid with meat instead of dirhams, this will probably work.

Omer said...

This article makes no sense, but was absolutely hilarious! I give the sheep mass suicide a two thumbs up!

-samah said...

@Omer,the article made absolute sense. You just need to get on to the (mentioned) crack pipe.

*chuckle chuckle chuckle* I need my inhaler.
The rounded numbers are insulting to the intelligence of those of us who actually fouced during a couple of those A Level Maths and Economics classes.
Reminds me of the govt's response to how Facebook was used to organise the errrr failed revolution attempt? where they claimed that most of those involved were from abroad and that from a total of 1500 FB individuals in the group,
200 from the UK, 300 from Sweden, 100 from the US, 10 from Saudi Arabia...
I mean, criminals use decimals to dump their cash into accounts to make it look plausible. The safaris (which give me hives when I see them) can't do sums let alone fractions.

Moez Ali said...

I see your point. It turns out there's an advantage to using overly whole numbers, you can add a 5 and a 0 and no one would notice the difference. Hence, things can be exaggerated.

Apparently Safari suits come with a self-replenishing wallet these days. It's a new option for the 2012 Safari suit, "All the Koz you can be".