July 16, 2003

A Brief Hayekian Moment

Excuse me while I have a brief Hayekian moment

Clementines. From Australia. Big juicy sweet--amazingly sweet--Australian clementines...

Isn't the world market marvelous! Nobody human knows--no machine has in its memory banks--the knowledge that an extra clementine tree should be planted in Australia in order to provide J. Bradford DeLong, a U.C. Berkeley professor, with big, sweet, juicy clementines in the northern-hemisphere summer. But the world market--our system of economic interrelationships considered as a social mechanism for guiding the production, transport, distribution, and allocation of goods and services--knows this. How wise it is! How fortunate the catallaxy! How big, juicy, and sweet the Australian clementines are!

Clementines!

Posted by DeLong at July 16, 2003 04:44 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Clementines. Easy to peel; no seeds; nice size; taste great and they travel well. They have become almost everyone's favorite snack citrus fruit to eat by hand.

I wonder how many years it takes between planting a clementine tree and when it starts producing fruit. (What are the economics, and can we expect that prices will decline much further as more producing trees become available.)

I have only become familiar with clementines in the last decade. The first ones I remember having were from Spain (as most still seem to be here in the East at least). I think there is probably a good New Yorker essay that could be spun about clementines. I certainly would read it.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on July 16, 2003 05:21 PM

Clementines. Easy to peel; no seeds; nice size; taste great and they travel well. They have become almost everyone's favorite snack citrus fruit to eat by hand.

I wonder how many years it takes between planting a clementine tree and when it starts producing fruit. (What are the economics, and can we expect that prices will decline much further as more producing trees become available.)

I have only become familiar with clementines in the last decade. The first ones I remember having were from Spain (as most still seem to be here in the East at least). I think there is probably a good New Yorker essay that could be spun about clementines. I certainly would read it.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on July 16, 2003 05:26 PM

Clementines! The Palm Pilot of fruit! Aren't they wonderful? Hayek, I'm a little ambivalent on; but I love clementines.

Posted by: Teresa Nielsen Hayden on July 16, 2003 05:36 PM

Yes, but are they organic clementines?

Posted by: Luke Francl on July 16, 2003 05:58 PM

This is how the free market should be appreciated, for its magic. Not moral lessons. Not religious principles. Not ridgid policy perscriptions. Free the free market from philosophical dogma. Enjoy it like you would a flower. Simple yet bloody amazing. It eats the sun, isn't that cool enough for you? Enjoy.

Posted by: Scott McArthur on July 16, 2003 06:01 PM

That last comment might be funnier if you watch this: http://www.brunching.com/smugguy.html

Posted by: Luke Francl on July 16, 2003 06:07 PM

Strange. The first clementines that I ever got were from a farmer by the roadside in Northern California, not too far from Berkeley, where DeLong lives. But that was during January, and I guess they're out of season for northern CA right now, so you can only get them from the Southern Hemisphere.

Posted by: Bobby on July 16, 2003 06:19 PM

I'm Australian. What's a clementine? A lovely girl's name, but not a fruit that we see here in the shops. Perhaps it's another example of how the exotic inflames the passions - or how distance lends enchantment. Perhaps Tasmanian salmon enjoys a similar transformation.

Meanwhile it's winter in Australia. The skies are grey and there's no snow. So do enjoy your little bundle of sunshine.

Posted by: Peter on July 16, 2003 07:05 PM


The clementine of nations...
The fruit that launched a thousand ships...
And in this small, squishy epiphany,
Globalism's trumpet doth sound, oddly enough.

Posted by: Bryan d'Charlottesville on July 16, 2003 07:53 PM

Didn't know this:

"Clementines: the clementine is a seedless mandarin"

"Mandarins: type of small orange with loose skin. The mandarin got its name because it was exploited by high-ranking government officials in China"

http://www.thefruitpages.com/oranges.shtml

Posted by: Ben Brackley on July 16, 2003 07:58 PM

Clementines, right now? Sounds too good to be true. Here, in northern Europe, we only get them during the winter season. Now I have to start a lobby campaign to get them imported from the southern hemisphere.

Posted by: Mikael S on July 17, 2003 12:52 AM

Call me stupid, guys, but what does "catallaxy" mean? Dictionary.com professes itself stumped, and I don't have the OED to hand.

Posted by: Mr. Bean on July 17, 2003 01:19 AM

Call me stupid, guys, but what does "catallaxy" mean? Dictionary.com professes itself stumped, and I don't have the OED to hand.

Posted by: Mr. Bean on July 17, 2003 01:20 AM

Google is helpful here. Try this:
http://www.morleyevans.com/Contents/Catallaxy/Catallaxy_txt.html

Also, an interesting result on CiteSeer:
http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/eymann00catallaxy.html

I really should get some clementines!

Posted by: Jesse on July 17, 2003 02:08 AM

Incidentally, the reason "catallactics" never replaced "economics" was that welfare economists didn't want to put up with a bunch of stupid puns about "welfare Cadillactics".

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek on July 17, 2003 07:04 AM

So Hayek liked clementines? I never knew that.

Posted by: PJ on July 17, 2003 07:46 AM

This post sponsored by the Clementine Ad Council. Clementines -- They're What's For Dinner.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski on July 17, 2003 09:19 AM

This just in... ... ...The recession it seems ended in November 2001. Good grief. What is with these mincing dear economists?

Well, another week, another 412,000 new jobless claims. But, less than last week. That makes about 22 weeks in a row above 400,000 new jobless claims. A record?

Posted by: jd on July 17, 2003 09:22 AM

"If an orange tree is planted in Australia, it is not planted because of a change in relative prices, but because someone ordered it to be planted. Those who object to economic planning on the grounds that the problem is solved by price movements can be answered by pointing out that there is planning within our economic system which is quite different from the individual planning mentioned above and which is akin to what is normally called economic planning."

(with suitable apologies)

Posted by: dsquared on July 17, 2003 10:33 AM

Hayek...Clementines...From...Aus...

I'm thinking:
What's an Austrian Clementine?
What's an Austrian Clementine?
...Oh, AUSTRALIAN !

Posted by: J Edgar on July 17, 2003 01:56 PM

Hayek...Clementines...From...Aus...

I'm thinking:
What's an Austrian Clementine?
What's an Austrian Clementine?
...Oh, AUSTRALIAN !

Posted by: J Edgar on July 17, 2003 02:01 PM

Here in Australia, I have found that economic changes associated with imports now make it far harder than ten years ago for me to buy socks that fit. In the face of cheap imports, Australian manufacturers not only declined, they cut back their range to match the cheap imports. Now I have to search diligently to find a supply of high cost imports from yet other countries.

All this made me think. Given that these changes obviously have failures as well as successes, how much unconscious selection went into that citrus example (I never heard of a "clementine" either)? Would we have seen the same tendency to tell us about a failure?

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 17, 2003 04:15 PM

Not that I want to burst your catallaxy euphoria, but somewhere in the Hayekian Catallaxy of Clementines I think that an anti-Hayekian force, the USDA, may be involved. Fruit fly problems.

Posted by: northernLights on July 17, 2003 06:26 PM

Uh, no. The citrus we export from here comes from fruit-fly free areas down in the Murray basin. These areas are kept fruit-fly free by a system of internal quarantine - we have plenty of fruit fly in Australia, especially in the tropics, but not in the irrigation areas (which are anyway too dry for Drosophila and its ilk to really flourish).

An interesting footnote to all this is that these semi-arid irrigation areas were originally developed early in the 20th century by a couple of native Californians (the Chaffey brothers) who had run a large (for the time) agribusiness in their homeland but sought higher returns elsewhere. It actually represented a considerable technology transfer and capital movement; globalisation worked its wonders then too. And the Chaffeys were well rewarded for their risk-taking.

Oh, and we get our out-of-season citrus from California. Can you send us some clementines (no-one seems to sell them here)?

Posted by: derrida derider on July 18, 2003 05:11 AM

A little googling following derrida derider's comment suggests that citrus trees in the Murray basin may be planted, not as the result of decentralized Hayekian inspiration, but by that old cumbersome statist planning invention, the marketing board. At least, that is what the
Murray Valley Citrus Marketing Board looks like to me.

So much for the wonders of the free market, says I.

(hrefs don't always seem to work, so just in case, here it is in text: http://www.mvcitrus.org.au/).

Posted by: Tom Slee on July 19, 2003 04:33 PM

My comments were related to non-Hayekian forces, not meant to slander Australian Clementines with fruit fly problems. Sorry.

The irrigation would probably also involve some statist intervention.

Posted by: northernLights on July 20, 2003 12:54 PM
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