a reply to: TonyS
I often tell the story of the republic of Cibaria.
In the early days of the Cibarian Republic they had a very unorderly way of preparing food: anybody that felt like it was allowed to cook! This
unhealthy practice often led to problems: food poisoning, obesity, unhealty food or even no food at all. Given their longstanding reputation of
providing healthy and well-balanced food - according to their own advertisements - it was decided to grant the national chain of quality restaurants
McCiberia the monopoly on food provision.
So, if you wanted to eat you went to McC. There were no other restaurants and the filthy habit of cooking for yourself was declared unlawful. Any
other form of food provisioning was forbidden to prevent the aforementioned problems.
Now, given their monopoly McC was not free to do it anyway they wanted it, there were strict rules. Firstly they should adhere to the will of the
people and only serve food the people wanted. The best way to do this was of course to give people a say in what would be on the menu. But as it would
be impossible to just give anybody whatever they wanted (nor neccessary nor healthy) and due to logistical restrictions it was decided to set up food
selection groups. Each such a group would have to represent at least 10 percent of the population and take into account the restrictions of the
system. However, it was thought to be reasonable that cooks could offer 10 different menus (of which most would overlap with others) hence the 10
After a while the biggest groups were the Caroteens and the Krauts. The Caroteens were fond of healthy food with lots of salads, carots and tomatoes.
The Kraut party offered sauerkraut, sausage and gravy. Both menus were very popular, almost 90 percent of the customers ordered either a Kraut or
Caroteen menu, half of them Caroteen stuff, half of them Kraut stuff. There were some other menus that were popular for a while, like the Vindaloo
Victory Menu, but there weren't many cooks that could prepare a good curry. So even many who'd rather had had a good curry choose either Kraut or
Caroteen reasoning "better a good Kraut than a bad curry".
Now, one day I visited Ciberia, unaware of the system they had. It was presented to me by a Ciberian friend of mine as a wonderful system, in which
people freely could choose what they wanted to eat at low prices and in which the production of food was done in a very efficient and orderly way. McC
took great pride in their slogan "They're loving it!".
Impressed I wanted to see that for myself. Well, actually, I did not have any other options either: eating was done at the McC, period, no
discussions. We can't have anarchy after all. So I decided to go for a burger. I went to the local McC and lo! - indeed was given a Free Choice:
Caroteen or Kraut. There were other menus too - one even had a hotdog in it, close enough to a burger for me - but all of them had signs on them "not
available this season".
Now disappointed but still hungry and not having any alternate option I decided to choose sauerkraut, gravy and sausage. Not really what I like, but
at least I would have some meat - the sausage. The other choice they had was even worse. So I ordered, then sat down, a bit grumpy, expecting to be
served a fine dish of kraut - but nothing happened. I complained, and the very nice gentleman behind the counter explained to me "Just a moment sir,
we have not had enough customers yet to decide - please wait, you will get your food, rest assured".
A bit puzzled why they needed to decide and on what I sat there and waited. Many others came in and ordered: some Kraut, some Caroteen. And then
suddenly an uproar: there seemed to be a fight going on in the kitchen! The cooks yelled at each other, some punched others in the face - a lot of
cursing and swearing was heard. And then even shots rung.. after a while half of the cooks were transported to the hospital or the morgue. The
remaining crew finally started preparing our meals. About time,we now were almost starving.
Then they served me: carots, tomatoes and cucumber. Though now very very hungry I refused to eat it, complaining loudly to the staff: not a burger,
not even meat! Where is my meat! The manager stepped in and asked what the problem was. I told him in no uncertain terms what had happened and asked
him why they served me this sheite.
His response was logical and true. "Because that is what we all have to eat sir. It's the will of the people. They're loving it."