This strategy has been used time and again by leaders to keep control of the people, area or situation. And this is being used right now by the giant oil companies in the Philippines to dictate oil prices at the same time silence resistance from consumers.
For the last 2 weeks, the alleged cartel is systematically increasing the prices of gasoline, commonly used by the middle and upper class, at the same time decreasing the price of diesel, which is commonly used for public transportation, and trucks that transport goods.
Traditionally, the Jeepney drivers and urban poor groups are the noisiest and hold regular mass demonstration against the oil companies for holding on to high prices even though world prices are going down. By adopting this strategy, they effectively silence the protesters but still keep the same profit because they just pass the burden of high prices to the middle and upper class who are generally quiet.
Fuel prices now in the Philippines is higher compare with the prices in the US, and the gov’t can’t do anything because of the deregulated law. The urban group is also quiet because they benefit from the cheaper diesel price, and if the trend continues, this will eventually roll back public transportation fares.
But I find the whole strategy unfair to the middle class because they take the burden alone in subsidizing the less privilege of the society. The upper class are generally not affected because they are entrepreneurs and some even run the gasoline stations. They still enjoy the same margin from the proceeds of high gasoline prices.
While playing a big brother role to the less fortunate of the society is a noble act, but this strategy appears to be self serving.