You Don't Need a Bread Czar to Know that the Bakery Will Be Stocked Every Morning

Watch Russ Roberts' animated ode to the magic of markets, "It's a Wonderful Loaf"


Russ Roberts, no stranger to these pages, has long been one of the great explainers of markets and economics. So it comes as no surprise that an animated poem about the wonders of bottom-up bread markets—in contrast to the errors of top-down wheat planning—has Roberts' fingerprints (and voice) all over it. Without further ado, enjoy "It's a Wonderful Loaf":

You can consume more manna from Roberts at his great podcast EconTalk, his personal website, on Twitter, and at Medium, where this week he's been taking the latest book-length attack on libertarianism to the woodshed.

In 2014, Nick Gillespie sat down withi Roberts to talk about his just-released book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. You can watch that interview below:

NEXT: The Coward's Veto: Dyke Marches, Trump, Muslims, and Cop Shootings

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  1. The title doesn’t go far enough. Having a bread czar would actually mean that there wouldn’t be enough bread, much variety, decent quality, or wide availability of bread. It would essentially mean the bread market would be fucked up, like everything else the government touches – driving up cost by shrinking supply and subsidizing demand.

    1. The really irritating thing is that there are so very many real-life cases demonstrating just this….and the Progressive/Left simply doesn’t acknowledge any of them.

    2. You don’t need 23 varieties of bread…

      1. “Wonderful Loaf” is my nickname in the office bathroom.

      2. Come on, finish the quote!

        …when children are hungry in this country

  2. The bread market isn’t like the healthcare market.

    1. True. It is infinitely LESS regulated and thus infinitely LESS screwed-up.

      Want cheaper healthcare? Repeal the last Century’s worth of government meddling in Medical and insurance regulation, then wait five years. If, at that time, there are any serious problems still extant you can then craf regulation to address it.

      1. “The problem is we have TOO many bread choices. Oh yeah it is ok now, but imagine how much better it would be if we could make the process more efficient and get rid of the fringe types and stick to white, wheat, sourdough and rye.”
        –Every progressive anywhere

        1. they’d make everyone eat spelt. dicks.

        2. Racist! Why no dark breads??
          Dump Rye and add pumpernickel.

    2. Correct. We still have a market for bread after all. There is no longer any such thing as a market for healthcare. People call it that, but there’s nothing market like about it.

      1. Wrong. Markets always exist, just like gravity always exists. You may think you can build a dam and block a river, but the river will find a way to bypass or overflow or destroy the dam wihout continuous maintenance. So it is with every market the government meddles with. They can make an unholy mess, they can waste a lot of resources maintaining their fuckup, but they can’t eliminate the market.

        Price cap on gasoline? People waste hours in line, and that is a cost. People know a guy whose brother runs a gas station. People slip a few bugs to someone who opens a gas pump after hours.

        Obamacare? People lie on paperwork, doctors and nurses lie, insurance companies lie. People know someone whose brother is a doctor. People self-treat. People go to the neighborhood Mr Fixit for off-the-record minor care. People inveigle their veterinarian sister-in-law to look at scrapes and bruises.

        Why do so many Canadians and Brits and Europeans and Asians coem to the US for fancy medical care? Because their systems are worse than Obamacare. Why do so many people go to Mexico for dental work, or Asia for heart surgery?

        Markets ALWAYS exist.

        1. I was exaggerating for the point. There are still places in the world where it’s legal to pay your physician directly. Even in the US. But but the most part we buy payment plans, not even insurance, and certainly not direct healthcare. There are market like things orbiting about heathcare, but an actual market for actual healthcare is pretty damned rare. Even insurance providers themselves are isolated from most healthcare price signals. They may quibble over lines in a bill, the time when they looked at the prices attached to those lines is mostly in the past.

      2. Markets always exist, but without the ‘free’ part they don’t function well; if at all.

        1. Markets are not self-aware. They don’t care what humans think of how well they work. They just work in market fashion, all day long, all night long, and yes, even if the Sox win a World Series, they will continue to roll along in their markety mark fashion.

          It’s progressives who do their damnedest to make sure the answer to how well markets work is no.

  3. “Literally oligarchy or something. Subverting democracy or something”

    -Nancy Maclean

    1. Democracy — two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner.
      Sounds ripe for subversion to me.
      How about we vote on what she has for dinner tomorrow? And whether she’ll be allowed to live to her next birthday or not? Or vote whether she should be frog-marched to Venezuela and discarded there.

      1. Progressives understand this. It’s just that they never imagine themselves being the sheep. That’s always the guy they don’t like.

    2. She seems to be trying really hard to be the next Naomi Klein. Hopefully, her blatant distortions of several people’s works will bite her in the ass.

      1. Jason Brennan ripped her a new one the other day.

      2. Did it bite Klien in the ass or are her works still cited in college courses?

        1. MacLean looks to be much more blatant than Klein. She’s only lucky that the dead can’t sue for libel, because Buchanan (and Rothbard) would probably have a case.

          1. Agreed. Cowen might have a case

  4. I wish this video smelled like freshly baked bread. Market failure.

    1. I wish Trump had continued Obama’s practice of naming people Czars

      1. His Bolshevik puppetmasters wouldn’t let him.

    2. You know what else is a market failure? The lack of libertarian women.

  5. Why is the video “set” in the period roughly 60-80 years ago?

    1. If the bakers had beards, and there were more strange varieties of bread, it might be a Hipster neighborhood.

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