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Christmas is coming….

December 13, 2016

…the goose is getting fat.

And so is everyone else. roast-goose

I know I’ve written about this before but the simple equation that besieges us (especially this time of year) is that we consume more energy than we need.

It really IS that simple.

INPUT < OUTPUT = MALNUTRITION

OUTPUT < INPUT = WEIGHT GAIN

Then if we heat our homes and drive everywhere, we’re using tonnes of carbon to prevent our bodies depleting our energy resources. Then, if we fuel up with 2000 or more kilocalories of sugar and fat, and we keep burning unnecessary fuel to do it, there are bound to be cumulative consequences.

I was reminded of all this over-consumption and the effects by this recent piece by Teresa Bolton in the Conversation.

But more directly, as we overeat we have to do something with that food-energy. Knowing no better, our bodies will save it.

We get fatter.

We get less healthy than we would be if we simply ate less.

It’s not rocket science.

But there is more. The thousands of calories we overeat are, effectively, depriving others of calories. If we, in the most developed countries simply demanded less, prices and production would fall.  There are, of course, complex market mechanisms that would fight against this; we might even start falling into recession.

But what needs to happen is a subtle shift of food and energy production into a more local, and less “marketised” part of the economy. If we all need food and light and warmth why shouldn’t this be part of the universal basic income idea that is circulating at the moment? It could be a global standard that would give concrete, achievable measures of development. It would demand that governments regulate certain industries (which they do anyway) with an objective of the ‘common good’ – meeting that global standard.

I suspect that this dovetails with Tim Jackson’s idea of Prosperity without Growth (to which Teresa Belton also refers.

Here is an over-oversimplification, but one that kind of makes sense if you think about it

Food marketing makes us fat and unhealthy.

The ONLY source of growth in the food economy should be from a growing population.

Anything else is engineering increased margins (what marketers might call ‘adding value’) by selling variety, novelty or convenience.

Or it is simply selling more, unnecessary, calories.

 

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