Big picture

Neat little story related by Tim Harford:

Shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, a Russian bureaucrat travelled to the west to seek advice on how the market system functioned. He asked the economist Paul Seabright to explain who was in charge of the supply of bread to London. He was astonished by the answer: “Nobody.”


I like that because it is astonishing that these things take care of themselves (well, not that bread is wandering in to London by itself, but you see what I mean). It’s also a fun reminder of the massive economic policy differences that are possible in the world – a reminder of the size of the question “how should I/we/the country allocate resources”.