Violent protests in the capital city entered an eighth day as demonstrators expressed opposition to the economic relationship between the availability of a product and its price, known as the law of supply and demand. Generally speaking, the law states that when more people demand more of a finite resource, the price of that resource will rise.
“This law flies in the face of our democratic principles,” said Agi Tater, a leader in one of the larger demonstrations. “If I want a product that everyone else likes, how is that my fault? Why should I have to pay more? Clearly, if there’s a high demand for something, the price ought to fall so it will become more available to more people. If they want to enact real economic reform, they need to repeal this law immediately.”
A few blocks away, a violent mob of shopkeepers protesting the high cost of replacing windows rampaged through a local retail district.
The protests are a follow-on from earlier protests over austerity measures enacted earlier this year to deal with a debt crisis. The Ruritanian government has for several years run budget deficits to support a generous social welfare system. As the worldwide recession has caused tax revenues to shrink, the government is in danger of defaulting on its loans if it cannot reduce its costs. Proposed reductions in social programs met with public anger and set off a series of demonstrations.
In recent days, the demonstrations have taken on a life of their own, as various parties take the context of the protests to air their own various grievances. Asked by a reporter about the motives behind today’s protests, demonstrator Ovis Mouflon expressed surprise. “I thought we were protesting the price of tea in China,” he said. “But who cares? It’s lots of fun, and it’s a nice chance to vent about things.”
A second demonstrator, Delaine Merino, was of the opinion that they were demonstrating against the negative stereotypes about people who spend their time protesting. “But does it really matter what it’s about?” said Ms. Merino, an erstwhile tourist. “The important thing is that we see something we don’t like, and we’re doing something about it.”
Further demonstrations are planned next week to protest the law of gravity, the distributive law of multiplication and the value of pi .