We all know that. We hear it all the time. What many of you don’t know is that we are not alone. When I was in Mauritius, a surprising number of the Euro tourists were fat. Going into one of those fancy resorts could be almost as bad as going to Walmart.
Check out this article by an Aussie doctor, it begins:
In the late 1980s I spent a year in the US as an exchange student. The exchange organisation allocated me a local support person named Emily. Emily was white and loud and the fattest person I had ever seen outside a caravan park. She looked different from the rare very fat people I’d seen in Australia. She smelt good and her climate-controlled house meant she did not sweat. She was very well dressed. Her husband was some kind of professional; I didn’t know they even made suits that big.
It just gets better from there. Oh, and for those of you that aren’t up on how the Antipodeans use the English language, a caravan park is a trailer park.
The author gets close to proposing a couple of very intrusive leftist type solutions, but admits that she probably wouldn’t want to live in a society that imposed the kinds of controls on lifestyles that would be necessary to force weight reductions on people.
There are several problems that I don’t think we can ever hope to address. With our socialized medical system, there will always be calls to control expenditures, or to deny treatment, when the patient is participating in an activity that is not popular with the elites that control the system. Being overweight is one of those things that the elites don’t like. It ruins the view, I guess. They won’t give up on the socialized medical programs because that will reduce their power, so we will continue to muddle along.
Another problems is that it clearly costs a lot less to be fat today than it did 100 or 150 years ago. I’m not just talking about the cost of food, although food is cheap these days, I talking about the actual cost of being fat. You don’t have to worry about walking far, or whether or not you are too heavy for your horse. You don’t, most of us anyway, have to be in good enough shape to handle the manual nature of our work. The list goes on and on.
I also wonder what our food supply would look like without the government’s interference. We have price supports for corn. I’m no expert, but we probably have them for other crops too, such as wheat and soybeans. We certainly have federal and state interference in the dairy market. Beef, chicken and pork probably have some government benefits involved too. I believe government programs lead to large entities being formed to mine those programs. The crop subsidies are the reason we have big corporate farms. The water subsidies are the reason we have big corporate farms in weird locations. We would have a greater variety of food stuffs without crop subsidies. When there is no financial advantage of one crop over the other (except for market acceptance) we should see greater variety in the absence of subsidies.
On problem the author addresses, and I believe would remain in a free market, is just how hard the food companies work to sell us food we don’t need. That wouldn’t go a way in a free market. Companies can likely make more by selling me a tasty treat in a colorful package than by just delivering a crown of broccoli to the market. Temptation would not go away in a free market.
But I do think in a free market for food we would have fewer fat people.
Oh and here’s the picture that illustrated the article:
Do go read the whole thing. It is time well spent.