The Mask Economy

Do not try this at home or in the office. Read 'DIY Mask' below.

The Mask Economy
Masks are in high demand and short supply, which could lead to:
  • Arbitrage: Buying masks where it is cheaper and selling them where they are in high demand at higher prices.
  • Black Market: Leakage of masks from logistics channels into the black market.
  • Mis-Match: 1) Like sending cosplay masks to a hospital. 2) Sub-par masks that are not up to exacting standards.
  • Gifts: Gifting of masks instead of souvenirs, american ginseng etc.
  • Runs: There is a run on masks and sanitisers. When researchers suggested herbal mix shuanghuanglian ('double gold thread') may have some positive effects, there was a run on it too. Next could be toddy, but note that this is western toddy which is hot whisky and honey, not eastern toddy which is sweet, slightly fermented coconut sap. Imagine a run on coconut toddy.

DIY Mask
  • The post video shows an attempt at making a DIY face nask.
  • We tested it, it does not work. Firstly, we noticed how easy it was to breathe. Remembering a warning from health professionals that if a mask is easy to breathe in, it is probably worn incorrectly or it is leaking. When we pressed the sides of the DIY mask to our face to seal it, immediately breathing became much harder.
  • The mask was intact only for a short while before moisture from exhalation soften the paper fibres and the mask tore soon after.

A Command Economy [not to be taken seriously]
  • A prolonged shutdown may cause the freezing of liquidity and the economy.
  • if factories are not running, goods are not being delivered. If goods are not delivered, the factory won't be paid. If the factory don't get paid, it can't pay salaries, suppliers, loans etc.
  • In a bind, CN could hypothetically revert to a command economy. Command economy is one that is centrally planned by the government. It's tough to get right. If this ever happens, CN may have to call up the oldies who did command economy a while back.
  • Free market economies would hope it would will never have to resort to a command economy under economic duress. It would be a bit stifling and not much fun, like having to wear a face mask to work every day.

Postscript: A Pleasant Surprise
  • In a previous post, we mentioned we couldn't source for face masks at major DIY and pharmacy chains.
  • To our surprise, on a visit to our friendly, neighbourhood mom-and-pop store, lo-and-behold, it had a sign saying masks are available. We bought a packet and some groceries.
  • Unlike data-driven decisions made by central purchasing of large chains, mom-and-pop stores run, stock and sell according to humans that pass its doors. Remember to support mom-and-pop stores, it will be good for the free market economy.