It’s been snowing in the UK, and people are freeeeaking out

Because the rational response to snow is to buy loads and loads of bread

The apocalypse, or just the weather? We're not sure, but Brits aren't taking any chances, and are stockpiling bread just in case.

What it means: The UK doesn't react well to snow. Schools close, roads freeze over, trains don't run. People are really panicking this time, and are stocking their larders full like there's a nuclear apocalypse coming. One shopper told The Times: “Shoppers were walking around with a panicked look on their faces. Some people had six or seven loaves in their basket... I went to grab the last loaf and someone who already had six took it. The shelves were empty.”

It looks like there are two potential undesirable scenarios at play in people's heads: if people can't get to the shops, they'll run out of food and they'll starve; if the shops can't get deliveries, they'll run out of food and they'll starve. It might sound like bonkers behaviour for a little bit of snow, but our purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by what's going on around us. Economists use something called to work out why that is.

This kind of thing happens whenever people assume there's some kind of risk approaching, whether it's a financial crisis or abnormal weather. The problem is, it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: if everyone stocks up on bread, we really will run out, and prices for the little left over will go up. Ready, steady, shop...

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?