Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gas Bezzle

Gasoline prices in the USA are going up. (Note to American readers: UK prices are close to one pound sterling PER LITRE, so please stop complaining.) Parts of the USA are experiencing serious shortages of locking gas caps (PhillyBurbs via Bruce Schneier)

I think this calls for some ecological analysis.
  • Who is selling the locking gas caps? Who is buying up all the locking gas caps - honest motorists or the siphoning gangs?
  • Who is buying the siphons? Who is selling the siphons? What is the effect on other activities that use siphons?
  • What is the relationship between the supply/demand of locking gas caps and the supply/demand of siphons?
Many years ago, JK Galbraith introduced the notion of bezzle, as the quantity of money fraudulently siphoned from the economic system, and described the system dynamics of bezzle in relation to the economic environment. [NotionWiki: Bezzle] We now have a version of this phenomenon where the siphon is no longer metaphorical but literal.

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