Real Choice & The Soviet Supermarket

If you haven’t heard of a watermelon called the Golden Midget before, it’s not a surprise.

It’s one of the 1,200 heirloom varieties of watermelons we don’t often see, if at all. To get a visceral sense of what we are missing, take a look at the picture on the right (click if you want more detail).

This picture is of a list of the mouth-teasing watermelons being grown at the vegetable research extension at Washington State University.

All I can say is wow.

What choice.  I feel terribly deprived.

Like our supermarkets, the early Soviet supermarket restricted the choices available.

Why did the Soviets put a restriction on choice?  Because production and demand was centrally managed.  A small number of bureaucratic decision makers found it was more efficient to plan, estimate, produce, ship, and stock fewer varieties than more. Link

By Eric Patton

Well look down Yonder Gabriel, put your feet on the
land and see

But Gabriel don't you blow your trumpet till you hear
from me

There ain't no grave can hold my body down

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