In Leonard Reed’s famous essay, “I, Pencil,” he marvels over the cooperation and collaboration involved in the assembly of a simple pencil — a complex coordination that is quite miraculously uncoordinated.
In a short video from economist Alex Tabarrok, the same lesson is applied to Valentine’s Day roses:
“Behind every Valentine’s Day rose, there’s an extensive network of people from all over the world,” says Tabarrok, “from the farmer to the shipper to the auctioneer to the retailer—all cooperating to produce and transport roses from field to hand in a matter of days.”
But though these countless creative partners are surely acting out of some degree of self-interest, and though (in this case) they are working to enable and empower what we presume to be “loving” exchanges, there is something deeper going on throughout the activity. (more…)