Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Happiness, choice, spontaneous order … and food!

I love talks that use something familiar to successfully make a much wider point. Here’s two of them

Why is “Chinese food” more universal around the world McDonalds? NYT food correspondent Jennifer Lee's answer: it’s spontaneous order versus central control.

And why have I put quotation marks around the words “Chinese food”?  Watch her talk at TED and find out how spontaneous order works so well, why the Chinese Colonel Sanders wouldn’t recognise his most famous dish, and how come all that Chinese food you ordered may not be as Chinese as you think.

And on a related talk, Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell examines “the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce -- and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness” … and about the Fallacy of the Platonic Dish.

[Hat tip to Jeffrey Tucker for both]


  1. PC, so do you agree with the guy in the second video or not, when he stated that there is no hierarchy (better mustard vs worse mustard or superior beers vs worse ones as lion-red, ranfurly, steinlager, etc, according to you..., good music vs shit music,...), but they're horizontal after all?

    Don't you see that the guy was aiming his lecture at you? I am keen to hear your critique of the non-hierarchy concept that he was describing, because what he says in his talk is actually how the real world works.

  2. There is an excellent “Chinese” restaurant Korean style top of Queen st opposite Myers Park along side the pedestrian traffic lights there. It looks like a Korean restaurant but isn’t and the food isn’t really Chinese either.

    Popular with Koreans never seen any Chinese there.


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