Thursday, September 9, 2010

Barbeque Technology

People think of 'technology' as being something new and flashy that only a scientist can come up with.  But economists know that technological progress, and the resulting economic growth, takes many forms.  For example, here is an advancement in production technology:

Brisket is the biggest challenge for any aspiring barbecue pit boss. The cut, from the under-belly of the steer, is one of the toughest and fattiest parts of the animal—a cut that invariably went unsold in olden days. The only takers in the past were the dirt poor and the slaves. As in Britain, brisket in Texas was traditionally either pickled or boiled all day—and even then, remained barely edible. But in the late 1800s, German immigrants settled in the state to ply their butchering and sausage-making skills to the rapidly expanding cattle trade. Once there, they quickly taught the locals how to slow roast tough and fatty brisket in an open pit to create one of the most succulent meats of all. 

This, like crock pots, is the kind of thing that governments and central planners never think of.  Our lives are what they are mainly because of millions of small advancements like these that mean less waste, more efficiency, and a higher standard of living as a result.  Even if you don't eat brisket, the fact that it can now be sold rather than thrown out makes all of the rest of the cow cheaper.

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