.. there is no way to know in advance what people will be ordering from the gigantic menu. The kitchen food inventory must be vast and adaptable to sudden changes of taste and interest. There must be perfect coordination between the prep chefs and the cooks, between the cooks and the wait staff, between the bartenders and hosts and hostesses and everyone else.
As I said, there were hundreds of people either dining or waiting to dine .. Every single person had an issue: Meat must be cooked this way not that, the wine must be dry not sweet, the potatoes must be replaced with broccoli, the water must come from a bottle and not the tap and so on through thousands of possibilities.
.. it could have been madness, riotous. Yet the situation was orderly in every way, not like the mechanical workings of a clock, but even more impressively the coordination of volitional human beings each exercising free will. It was like a market economy in miniature. No police. The “thin blue line” was profitability.
Every person there was a king, a paying customer who wanted everything exactly right. The staff worked tirelessly to oblige. As soon as one party left a table, it was cleaned and moved and reset to accommodate a new party with new demands, new tastes, new preferences.
The structure of production of this amazing place extends beyond what exists in its four walls. The food comes from all over the world. The coordination extends to transportation, agriculture and ranching, herbs and spices from remote places, liquors and beers from all corners of the earth. And the coordination extends back in time, even decades and even centuries from the first seeds planted in the vineyards that make the wines and liquors. And the technology to make it happen is all relatively new, from refrigeration all the way through digital communication between the kitchen and the maitre d’.
This stunningly complex operation — far more complicated than any operation attempted by any government bureaucracy ..
If you were to propose such a system to a person who had never seen it in operation, that person would never believe such a thing as this could happen .. The market has made it so ..
.. We repay this system by teaching our students that capitalism is evil, by protesting the market in mass demonstrations, by taxing the entrepreneurs, by spitting on the accumulators of capital who fund the system and take the risk.
Then we elect politicians, even presidents, who are sworn enemies of our great benefactor, the free market, which we — through crazy logic and deep historical ignorance — blame for all our troubles. Then, these same people praise government as the source of all good things.