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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Supply Curve and the Pemuda Race

The ketua pemuda race.

Strangely, the current ketua pemuda, Hishamudin Hussein (HH) has not displayed his hands. Who does he prefer to succeed him? His Sembrong Pemuda division of course nominated KJ. If KJ’s people insist that nominations do not necessarily translate into actual votes, we will likewise, hold our judgment on the nomination by Sembrong.

HH may have instructed his Pemuda to nominate KJ. That was a most civil thing to do. How can you not support your own deputy? Possibly it was just a face saving gesture. HH could not afford to be seen to backstab KJ when he must grudgingly acknowledged the young man has slaved and slogged for Pemuda during the 4 years as deputy Pemuda Chief. Where KJ was here, there and everywhere, HH, like the male lion in the pride, sauntered in to grace the finishing touches. No big deal.

Can KJ trust HH? Sakmongkol thinks not. Better not. HH’s preference for KJ is proportionate to the tenure of Pak Lah. While Pak Lah stays in power, HH will play the poodle lapping up everything that Pak Lah says.

KJ must face the reality, that HH will seek the first chance to settle old scores. What old scores? Whether one likes it or not, for the 4 years deputising for HH, KJ has overshadowed the ever grinning Pemuda chief Jock. Measure it any way you want- articulation, mental capacity, bravado, fighting spirit- KJ outshines HH in every department. Now that Pak Lah is leaving on a jet plane and wont be back again, HH will play, see no evil, here no evil routine. By refusing to endorse an open debate, would have reveal a few things to KJ. He cannot count on HH.

Who will win the race? If it was a sprint, maybe Muhriz could have been the winner. Now that the race has turned into a marathon, winning requires different set of skills and techniques. You cant sprint in a marathon. You will drop off dead. A marathon man requires stamina. Now, stamina is a generic term. It can mean physical stamina. Khir Toyo can consume a lot of tempe reputed to be high in protein from which he can develop muscles and cardio vascular strength. Muhkriz can rely on his own source of strength, that will include his fortune of not holding any public office before and therefore relatively immune from criticisms. KJ can do likewise. He has a track record as deputy, but he is also burdened with a perception of unofficially holding public office and therefore susceptible to more criticisms. Of course, as will be obvious in the coming months, lots of money will be involved.

Sakmongkol can put it in other terms. Mukhriz who has no record of holding public office is an angel we don’t know. KT and KJ had official and unofficial public offices and are therefore the devil we know. Who do you trust? Sakmongkol will want to trust the devil we know. On these terms, the race will actually be between KT and KJ, notwithstanding the number of nominations received by MM.

Can we make anything of the number of nominations? The rate of their increase? Perhaps, the number of nominations as they say in statistics and econometrics, are spurious. The nominations received by KJ so far have been steady, growing at a rate around 30-32% and capturing similar magnitude of 27-29% share of nominations. Statistically, the nominations by Mukhriz appeared to be troubling because they suffer from random disturbances- experiencing volatile variations. His nominations grew at the rate of 43% and suddenly dropped to 10% in the 3rd week. His initial burst in speed would fit very well, if the race were a sprint. KT’s nominations on the other hand, started at a slower pace in the initial stages and then escalated in the later stages. . .

What can we deduce from these trends? Mukhriz has not been able to sustain his consistency. Why? His initial bursts may be attributed to the fact the early nominations came from Mukhriz-friendly bahagians. Therefore his nominations cannot be treated as conclusive. Contrast Mukhriz’s performance to that of KT, the former Selangor MB. Khir enjoyed spectacular increase in the later stages precisely when MM’s fortunes were tapering down.

How do we account for this reversal of fortunes of the two men? Let us introduce the factor of MONEY. How can we use money to explain the fall and the rise of Mukhriz and KT respectively? People! Please remember, sakmomngkol is using a hypothetical variable here- MONEY.

Assume the law of economics is working here. Supply increases directly to increases in price. Convert the nominations received by both MM and KT as positions of the upward sloping supply curves. Then, the lower location of MM on the upward sloping supply curve would suggest, that the supply of nominations he received, were compatible with lower prices. Or in simple terms, less money is offered and so supply of nominations is correspondingly slowed.

On the other hand, KT appears to occupy a higher location on the upward supply curve, over the same period. This would then suggest, the higher supply of nominations KT received can only be induced by higher prices. Which means, more money is offered.

KJ on the other hand, seems to occupy a more or less stationary position on the supply curve. Which means, the price associated with the supply of nominations accruing to him, remains consistent.

Which means what? Assuming money is used by all 3 contestants, we can make the following observations- not empirically verified of course.

  1. In the initial stages, MM used more money than all the other contenders.
  2. In the later stages, KT used more money than MM and was able to overtake MM’s rate of increase in supply of nominations
  3. KJ used money too- but his usage, over the period in question, is not as much as the other two contestants.

The above hypotheses, would solve the mystery of who actually used more money in the race. The more important observation will be, a marathon race favours consistency. MM and KT’s nominations exhibited erratic behaviours while KJ’s showing is steady and consistent. Like Sakmongkol says, a marathon race is usually won by a consistent pacer who speeds towards the end.

But people, supporters of Mukhriz, Khir Toyo and KJ, don’t read too much into Sakmongkol’s flight of fancy.


mekyam,  17 November 2008 at 03:49  

sorry, tok sak!

can't help but read a teeny bit into your "flight of fancy".

esp since in a number of recent entries it's all you could do to hide whom you fancy. ;D

being a few shades off dull myself, bright people usually impress me no end. however in my book, truly bright people have better control of their foibles, esp if they involve traits like being self-serving and self-enamoured. more so, since being smarter than most, they have to know those traits are in contradiciton with public service.

your "fancy" (if i'm right lah), like his more voluble "fellow faustian" ai, fails that litmus for me.

p.s. i think rank ambitiousness can make even smart people stupid.

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 17 November 2008 at 07:22  

mek yam.
itu lah mek yam.. i am looking for a/some vigorously reasoned argument/s to counter this 'preference of mine'. as far as i am concerned, JMD is the only who has done so. the others who support not KJ have only employed scorched earth techniques which sidestepped rigorous analyses. unfortunately they hope to cloud the issue, by concluding with subjective assertions like you just did...rank ambitiousness make smart people stupid. or...some other character flaws make not a good leader. as to the faustian chatterbox, i shall find association between ambition and being smart( in AI's case) , too strenuous for me to bear. AI smart? waduuh!

A Tabib 17 November 2008 at 07:24  

If I were a general, i'd look at this race as a two-phase campaign similar to the one the Brits fought to regain the Falklands - (1) to gain a beachhead (nomination) and (2) to force a surender (win). Both require different tactics.

Phase 2 requires Phase 1 to be completed. Phase 1 requires a direct approach. use as much ammo (=$$$) as needed but get the beachhead. This explains the flurry of votes late in the day for KT and KJ.

The number of votes one gets *after* gaining the nomination is not important because its a different battle now.

Phase 2 is a more protracted battle. After regrouping we must spend time preparing for the final assault.

Everybody rearms. Soften the enemy by bombarding him with more ammo while at the same time ensuring our guys are well supplied, but not too much because our supplies are finite. Deception plans ("I'm the underdog") are put into place. Bluff is used to convince the enemy's soldiers that they are fighting a losing battle and they'd be better off deserting their commander (the Brits reportedly used this to good effect by using Gurkhas to scare the Argentine conscripts).

All this while, neutrals are used to talk to the enemy and see if they are open to surrender without the need for a final assault...and so goes the Battle of PWTC.

Anonymous,  17 November 2008 at 09:35  

Dato',if you think you see that there's something good and worthwhile in KJ,please help him in whatever way.We need to groom good young leaders to be ready for a very challenging future.Persuade many to guide him.Every single politician has made his/her least he is still young.There are some old politicians who never want to confess that they too plundered the country's wealth when in power.
So why dwell on KJ's possible business dealings as though the other politicians are so 'clean'?
So where possible,please help KJ!

Anonymous,  17 November 2008 at 10:51  

Excellent piece. Flight or fancy or not, it appears to a layman like me that Mukhriz and Khir Toyo had the help of Agong himself. In the form of RM50 and RM100 notes.

walla 17 November 2008 at 11:30  

The blogger has posted something brilliant here. A seminal mind at work, in fact. Principles of economics applied to local politics. This model of MM and KT respectively being at the lower and upper limits of the upward-sloping money supply curve of the political nomination market is indeed intriguing.

But i think the conclusion that the third candidate, KJ, being at steady state in the middle portion of the curve, is conclusively fingered to tip the scale is however not without error.

And i have come to this point of view notwithstanding the fact that i was probably the first person in local blogosphere to have identified KJ as a future PM of the country. That was before he consumed himself in the dark side of the force.

Where is the hole in the model, it is heard asked? A hint is whispered - remember Khera.

Oh? Yes, Khera. In fact, Khera's Phillips curve. The one curve in the universe of graphs which curls backwards.

Correct me, but only if i am wrong, Bill Phillips of New Zealand showed an inverse relation between inflation and unemployment. Later studies showed that the Phillips curve made sense in the 60s but failed in the 70s.

Which has returned this year, 2008, the year of global financial calamity. Therefore the position of KJ may be explained consistent to the relative positions of MM and KT by the application of the Phillips Curve. To be slightly more precise, an expectations-augmented Phillips Curve.

I shall spare all the full ramifications of this extension to sakmongkol's great theory, which if it bears out, will soon go into the history books of econo-politics as Sakmongkol's First Law of Election Candidature. Considering the role of governments in today's global markets, it could very well sit in the hall of fame with the likes of Friedman, Krugman, Hayek and Keynes.

Suffice to say, the maths called calculus of variation is required. Alas, to elaborate that will need more space than this comment box allows. So, just accept some palpable hints. Which are:

-while MM and KT are pinned on the upward-sloping money-supply curve, KJ is running along a parallel track of a Phillips curve;

- the inverse relation between inflation and unemployment applies to him;

- the drop in price by ten sen of a roti canai in no way reduces the painful fact that we are still drowning in inflation;

- inflation being high, unemployment is therefore low, Mr Bill Phillips argue;

- of course, since it is an expectations-augmented version of the curve we are talking about, unemployment is only low because expectations of it being low have been raised by KJ;

- that can only happen when promises are made for something in the future what one may not want to show that one has in the present;

- and what is this 'unemployment'? when one is unemployed, money supply is low; when one is under expectations-augmented unemployment, money supply is perceived to be high because it has been promised as certain after an event takes place.

And there you have it. From their curve, MM and KT will see KJ chugging along on another track, a Phillips curve. The brute force of the two on one track is counterpoised by the quiet steady-state ascent of the third along an expectations-augmented Phillips curve.

And how does the seemingly steady-state ascent happens for our young man? It happens because the curve curls backward. You can see it as either one of two possibilities:

Possibility One: the first part was slow and small, the curl back part was fast and big; therefore the net effect is to average it to a steady ascent;

Possibility Two: the first part was fast and big; the curl back part was slow and small; therefore the net effect is also the same - averaging to a steady ascending pattern.

But the velocity of nominations, you ask?

That assumption is put to the test by the expectations-augmented variable in the Phillips Curve.

For which we will need to fall back to calculus of variations.

One surmises Newton and Leibnitz would be aghasted what the modern world is using their gems for...

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 17 November 2008 at 12:24  

i am sure you meant the laffer backward sloping supply curve? Phillips curve is downward sloping like the demand curve. an augmented Phillips curve shifts outwards.

walla 17 November 2008 at 12:29  


sigh, back to the drawing board.

the dark side of the force is strong, no?


sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 17 November 2008 at 12:37  

sorry walla- its the backward sloping supply curve. the laffer curve is an inverted u-shaped curve. your analysis is correct, but the curve you want i think is the bssc or the inverted u shaped laffer curve.

mekyam,  18 November 2008 at 00:40  

hi again, tok sak!

[sori, lambat jawab. banyak travail, bak kata omperancis.]

betul tok sak, i wasn't trying to counter your preference but was merely stating the reasons why he is not mine. :D

i admit to being a bit loth to get into long-drawn analyses, esp since i would be rehashing things that are already public knowledge. so i'm okay with my reasons appearing subjective.

however, considering the universality of my litmus [honesty and humility], i think i'm not that unreasonble.

sorry i'm too ill-equipped to join in the economic treatment of the pemuda race with a more meaningful/analytical comment. but if you'll accept a layperson's observation...

the skew in the nomination supply curves of mm and kt could have happened after mm would not debate kj, and kt would. potential mm supporters who saw this in a negative light, but could not countenance kj as pemuda head, probably switched their nomm to kt. if the number of kt's gain was proportional to mm's loss and their points in time coincided, this might bear out this non-scholarly observation of mine.

re my postscript, perhaps i should have put a caveat that the afterthought was just a general musing and i was in no way intimating that that ai is smart [smart at auta, yes]. i don't think kj is that brilliant either. but my posit about "truly bright people..yada..yada..." already alluded to that. :D

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