Two little stories that caught our eye:
Morrisons is trialling a halal pick and mix counter at 10 stores, offering gelatine-free sweets to Muslim customers.
The selection of 36 sweets includes liquorice sticks, cola bottles, jelly beans, gummy bears and sugared lips – all guaranteed to be free of non-halal animal products or alcohol-based colourings and flavourings.
The lust for profits to be made by satisfying consumer desires leads to ever more product differentiation, even to sweeties that those who take their religion seriously can have.
On May 12 it will be 10 years since Malcolm Glazer completed his hostile takeover of Manchester United, loading the business as he did so with the biggest debt in football history. At that moment, a group of United supporters turned their backs on the club they had long followed and decided to establish one of their own. FC United of Manchester they called it, a name now written large across the front of the main stand at Broadhurst Park, the club’s new home. As gestures go, this could not be more substantive.
When the new stadium opens officially on May 29 with a friendly game against Benfica, the 5,000‑capacity stadium, with its enormous terrace, its myriad community spaces and the area earmarked for a microbrewery to produce the club’s own ale, will surely be directing a belligerent architectural two fingers at the Glazer regime.
Don’t like the capitalist plutocrats taking over “your” club? Great, start a new one, why not?
All without the intervention of a single bureaucrat.
We do not, by the way, insist that free markets solve each and every problem to perfection. Only that they work remarkably well across wide swathes of life. Which is why were so attached to them really, just because they do produce what people seem to want for the least effort.