There is a story about the Soviet official who came on a visit to Britain and expressed his wish to meet the person responsible for seeing that enough bread was baked and delivered to London each day. He was astounded when he was informed that there was no such person.
But looking back four decades to the time when I was becoming interested in politics, it has to be admitted that the Britain of the era looks remarkably collectivist to modern eyes.
The press cutting above was tweeted by the Thatcherise account, which is replaying - 40 years on tot he day - the events surrounding Margaret Thatcher's election as Conservative leader in February 1975.
Because in November 1974 the prices of goods in British shops were controlled by the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection. This short-lived government department that had two secretaries of state: Shirley Williams (1974-6) and Roy Hattersley (1976-9).
Consumer protection was on the up in 1970s - does anyone remember Richard Stilgoe and Nationwide's consumer unit - and it now seems a forward-looking movement.
By contrast, the idea of price control now seems extraordinary. And the National Archives sites spells out just this department's work in the area:
The Prices Policy Divisions were developed from the prices interests of the DTI's Prices and Incomes Division. One Division was concerned with general prices and counter inflation policy, especially in connection with the Price Code and the Price Commission; the other with price regulation and information, the administration of food subsidies, and the relationship between price control and industrial policy.This is the sort of Labourism I grew up with. And, despite coming from a poor family, I never found it enticing.
And, as it turned out, Margaret Thatcher was right. Competition between supermarkets proved a far more effective way of keeping prices down than government control.
But the Thatcher era is now long gone too, and her views now sound almost as old fashioned. The travails of Tesco suggest that the supermarket era is over too. Certainly, here in Britain, dirigiste Labourism is far from our biggest worry - despite what some commentators would have us believe.
I guess the moral is that 40 years is a long time in politics - and 30 years is just as long.