Like mutations in evolution, many accidents such as the one described below lead to increases in diversity. Further proof that centralized, top-down planning could never produce a standard of living as satisfying as atomistic, decentralized agents produce.
I love browsing the mathematics section of book stores. Yesterday I found a book on complex adaptive systems written by Len Fisher that so far is outstanding; I suspected as much after I bought it and noticed that Michael Mauboussin offered suggestions for the manuscript. The Kellogg’s creation/discovery of Corn Flakes is but one example of economic evolution at work.
The brothers developed breakfast flakes by accident in 1893, when Will abandoned a pot of cooking wheat to attend to business matters. He returned to find a mixture with a stale and hard consistency. Unwilling to waste the food, the brothers forced it through rollers with the hope of forming long sheets of dough. Instead, they created wheat flakes, which they toasted and served to the San’s patrons as a breakfast cereal.