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How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War

NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,413Member Member Posts: 9,413Member Member
This is an interesting story about history, science, agriculture, and also unintended consequences.  I think some in here will enjoy it.

Text version:

https://medium.com/s/freakonomicsradio/how-the-supermarket-helped-america-win-the-cold-war-59c788def3eb

Audio version:

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/farms-race/

Replies

  • tbright1965tbright1965 Posts: 826Member, Premium Member Posts: 826Member, Premium Member
    To go along with this, read the account of Boris Yeltsin in a US supermarket and how it demoralized him.

    https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/news/article/When-Boris-Yeltsin-went-grocery-shopping-in-Clear-5759129.php
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,203Member Member Posts: 6,203Member Member
    Freakonomics never fails to deliver a wrecking ball through those cognitive dissonance moments.

    There's a brilliant story arc within the show "The Americans" highlighting the difference in philosophy between Cold War USSR and USA. The USA is busy developing highly resistant grain while the USSR conducts investigations into markets with a higher than normal amount of food on their shelves.

  • wiigelecwiigelec Posts: 242Member Member Posts: 242Member Member
    Finally! The connection between the CIA and Walmart...
  • psychod787psychod787 Posts: 2,823Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,823Member, Premium Member
    wiigelec wrote: »
    Finally! The connection between the CIA and Walmart...

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,764Member Member Posts: 12,764Member Member
    Yeah, that was a good/interesting piece (as so many of theirs are). Systems over symbols (or isolated static component optimization) FTW, again.
  • DerpesDerpes Posts: 2,026Member Member Posts: 2,026Member Member
  • OrphiaOrphia Posts: 6,940Member Member Posts: 6,940Member Member
    Knew this thread would be worth checking out. Thanks heaps.

    In our town (Australia), we have a 'choice' of 4 supermarkets. They pretty much sell all the same brands and products (except Aldi which produces similar products under its own brands).

    I've often felt like the Russians in the pre-Berlin-Wall-fall days' propaganda where they are lined up waiting to buy the one shipment of a product.

    We now waste 30% of the food produced on the planet, and are at risk of losing 85% of local strains of food plants.

    We have more food, less choice, more inequality, less good nutrition, more waste, less forest, more malnutrition and more under-nutrition.

    Don't get me started on national borders and the damage they to peace, the environment, health, equality and in general, the planet.

    For about 6 months I've been a member of an "unpackaged" food collective (to use a "communist" term) which lets us buy bulk orders of different independently grown, sustainable and heritage foods, and split the food/costs between us.

    Meanwhile, the supermarkets are selling more sustainable products, and less "unhealthy" or highly-processed foods.

    As Bill Gates say, the world is getting better. But it takes time to change distribution systems, habits, and land use and food production methods.

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