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Possibly trivial but also rather the point

Summary:
Given that we English have been consuming mince pies since the return of the first Crusaders you’d think we might have got them right by now. But no:Britons are starting Christmas early, with sales of mince pies on track to top £100m amid a fierce supermarket bake-off.The popularity of the mince pie is rivalled only by pigs in blankets at Christmas and this year a welter of new flavours, including cookie-style and plant-based pastries, are on the menu as stores seek to appeal to younger taste buds.Even with the thick end of a millennium of experience the experimentation continues.This of course being entirely trivial, there’s no need to keep playing with such a minor issue.Except, equally of course, that this is the entire point of our basic socioeconomic system. What we can do changes

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Given that we English have been consuming mince pies since the return of the first Crusaders you’d think we might have got them right by now. But no:

Britons are starting Christmas early, with sales of mince pies on track to top £100m amid a fierce supermarket bake-off.

The popularity of the mince pie is rivalled only by pigs in blankets at Christmas and this year a welter of new flavours, including cookie-style and plant-based pastries, are on the menu as stores seek to appeal to younger taste buds.

Even with the thick end of a millennium of experience the experimentation continues.

This of course being entirely trivial, there’s no need to keep playing with such a minor issue.

Except, equally of course, that this is the entire point of our basic socioeconomic system. What we can do changes over time. What it is that people desire to have done changes over time. We might imagine, for example, that the Holy War on sugary drinks has left those young desirous of something less cloyingly sweet. Or that the exigencies of the modern world have left them requiring a slug of gin (one flavour being tested out there) with their tea and sweetie.

The free part of markets means that anyone can try anything they wish. The markets part means that those who desire that experiment may have it. Capitalism means that those who purvey something desired make money thus providing the incentive for that free part of the market back at the start. We end up in successive iterations of experiment and knowledge gathering over what, among the things that can be done, people desire to have done. The world gets that infinitesimally bit better each and every day as the process plays out.

Free market capitalism also allows the most ghastly mistakes (note to Americans, no, really, just no) but that’s also part of the experimentation process.

Yes, OK, mince pies are indeed trivial. But the point about free market capitalism is that it does this to everything, all the time. Which is why it all works.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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