Blake Riley

Microplane graters and socialist calculation

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Today I was listening to an EconTalk episode about Ludwig von Mises, including his kicking-off the socialist calculation debate. Especially as expanded by Hayek, the argument is that prices aggregate distributed knowledge, guiding resources in ways that are very hard to predict, much less plan. Case in point: the Microplane grater.

“I didn’t set out to make cheese graters,” Mr. Grace, an engineer by education, said recently… “I thought I was making serious woodworking tools,” he continued. “To see them used in the kitchen, that was frankly a personal disappointment.”

“We laughed when people told us they were using our products in their kitchens,” recalled Microplane’s Web site and woodworking-products manager, Maria Grace, one of Richard Grace’s daughters. “But we didn’t turn down their orders.”

(hat tip: Kottke)

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Written by blakeriley

2011.01.19 at 17:51

Posted in economics

Tagged with , ,

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