The bad food industry and big pharma are killing us, literally. People are desperate for affordable drugs, but the vast majority would not need drugs at all if they ate healthy foods in appropriate quantities. Harvard economics professor Ken Rogoff (co-author of ‘This time is different’ on the credit crisis) offers us an important reminder on the bad economics of allowing the food industry to freely poison our population. A few big players make big profits while we, the tax payers and society as a whole, are left to bear the crippling costs of a population who are physically handicapped and slowly destroyed by the food they are ingesting.
Of course individuals and parents need to take much more responsibility and care in the food they are “using”. But at the same time, as a civil society, we see fit to regulate and control the sale and use of other addictive, harmful substances like drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. It is not ok to offer cigarettes to our children, why is it ok to feed them poisonous food? Why are we allowing (even tax-subsidizing) poisonous and addictive food to be freely marketed and inflicted on children and adults across the board? When I see everyday that about half of the people around me are literally eating themselves to death, I see them as similar to other drug addicts. They might as well have needles dangling from their arms. And yet there is an attitude today that this type of self-destruction is a personal choice beyond the concerns of the state. It is impolite to mention.
The fact is that the societal cost of all this is enormous and the health care system in its current form cannot bear it. The economics of our current attitudes and ideas about food are simply not sustainable.
Here is Rogoff:
“A systematic and broad failure of regulation is the elephant in the room when it comes to reforming today’s Western capitalism. Yes, much has been said about the unhealthy political-regulatory-financial dynamic that led to the global economy’s heart attack in 2008 (initiating what Carmen Reinhart and I call “The Second Great Contraction”). But is the problem unique to the financial industry, or does it exemplify a deeper flaw in Western capitalism?
Consider the food industry, particularly its sometimes-malign influence on nutrition and health. Obesity rates are soaring around the entire world, though, among large countries, the problem is perhaps most severe in the United States. According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one-third of US adults are obese (indicated by a body mass index above 30). Even more shockingly, more than one in six children and adolescents are obese, a rate that has tripled since 1980″.
See the whole article: Coronary Capitalism.