How Food Regulations Make Us Less Healthy | Learn Liberty

How Food Regulations Make Us Less Healthy | Learn Liberty


How do you choose what to eat? Most people
don’t realize how big of an influence government policy has over the food they buy and consume.
Rent seeking, lobbying, and regulatory barriers all change the way food is produced and sold
throughout American refrigerators and American stomachs. Rent seeking occurs when private
individuals use politics not for the public welfare but to obtain personal benefits. The
benefits are concentrated to only those individuals within the special-interest group. Take corn subsidies for one example. Government
takes tax dollars from everyone and gives it to a smaller group of corn farmers. The
costs to you or me are small, but the benefits received by corn growers are large. Since
1995 the government has given $73.8 billion to corn growers while the average household
pays around $400 for food subsidies in a year. So how does this affect the food I choose
to eat? With corn subsidies, the price of foods containing corn is lower than it would
be without the subsidy. Thus, people are willing to eat more of it. Because farmers can benefit
so much from corn subsidies, they are willing to spend effort and real resources to get
politicians and policymakers to support subsidies. Regulations can act as barriers to entry as
smaller, newer businesses have more difficulty affording the costs of regulation. A good
example is regulation that certifies food as organic. Don’t these regulations help small
farmers? Unfortunately, no. Buying organic has become a billion-dollar industry. Big
businesses have lots of resources to invest time and money to make sure they benefit from
and comply with organic certification. Small farmers on the other hand have a harder time
affording the monetary costs, the paperwork, and the bureaucracy of compliance. Regulations
are small costs to big farmers but big costs to small growers. So the general market for
organic food is more dominated by large industrial farms and fewer local producers than it would
be without regulation. Many factors manipulate the market for food.
Prices are distorted because of subsidies, and regulation impedes competition. With so
many unintended consequences, is government the best way to promote food quality, health,
and nutrition? I say no. A freer market without distortions would allow consumers to buy cheaper,
healthier food.

100 comments

  1. What the are you going to sue them over if there isn't a regulatory board determining the criteria for what constitutes "organic" food, you fucking idiot?

  2. Holy fucking shit you libertarian chucklefucks are so morally and intellectually bankrupt it's almost painful. You think it's okay if people are poisoned by unregulated food if the company that produces the food goes out of business as a consequence. You seriously think companies won't try to slip unsafe practices under the radar just because it would hurt their reputation. What about companies who don't care about their reputation? Companies who think they can get away with it? Untested food?

  3. Here, I'll reply to my own post to save you the trouble:

    Uhh well free market hurgle burgle only a truly free market can invisible hand the economy better than government. Government bad, free market good, gooble gobble gooble gobble let's all fucking ignore the 19th century because free market the best. Heh. Foolish ass clown.

  4. My motivation is that these things have the ability to kill you, and what I was saying is that the people running monsanto don't care about your health, they care about money. I am not some marxist who wants to abolish GMOs to stop capitalism, I am an ordinary person who is concerned for my health and the health of my fellow citizens. I don't understand your motive: lack of regulatory caution, or do you work for Monsanto?

  5. Yes they can and you can sue them. It is considered fraud if they do that.
    >> Going against a multi million dollar corporation.
    This is my point. The justice system needs to be turned around so that verdicts are delivered on basis of legality with a computer based jury.
    Regulations make it a pain in the ass as the outbreaks of E.Coli have proven.

  6. Yes. Except he wants regulations enforced by a bureaucracy. And them to be random laws hindering corporations and the market.
    This is a sound protection of contract. Which is vital to capitalism. Protection of contract does not apply to what most liberals mean by regulation. many times it is the opposite ("regulating" corporations so they do not price gouge for an example).

  7. >> Regulatory board determining criteria for organic food
    MFW
    Are you really that retarded? So you want government to ensure and regulate science too and for it to make it without doubt that quantum field theory is part of science and that axions are theoretical?
    What are you going to sue a corporation for fraud over if there were not a regulatory board to define fraud, you fucking idiot?

  8. >> 19th century
    >> Free market
    Ok.
    That was the century where Europe went from shittons of dirt and grime poverty and sickness to tight living quarters and relativistic physics. Your point?

  9. You are a thick fucker who does not understand one implies government intrusion and the other implies a simple system of "fraud or no fraud".

  10. All food is "organic" you fucking muppet, so without the legal definition which comes from regulations ANY food could be labeled "organic" without committing any fraud whatsoever.

  11. Oh right because there's no way the wealthy would subvert a system of justice absent any other regulations or oversight, right? Was it the Fairy Princess or the Unicorn Pegasus preventing that from happening?

  12. Oh no how dare the government intrude on the rights of Lysol to market their disinfectant as a vaginal douche. Certainly any company that would do something so irresponsible would go out of business therefore regulations are unnecessary.

  13. In Europe people eat and live healthier and these "regulations" are enacted! In Nordic countries the government provide the policies necessary so people can fulfill the regulations. The problem is not regulation for food's quality… is policy. This video is dangerous

  14. Can you explain why prices are higher for food? Why are there still less small farmers. Did you also forget about the EU taking tax payers money to fund inefficient farming?

  15. "or do you work for Monsanto" Yeah, that must be it!!!
    You morons have to understand the difference between the company Monsanto (that have shown very dubious business practices) and GMO.
    Try to get in your simple brain that even if Monsanto is pure evil doesn't make GMO evil. What's wrong with you?

  16. We can not talk about "too much power" of "the government" if the government itself is being swayed by the economic interests of big corporations…

  17. Why should anyone overpay for food when it can clearly be done for cheaper…The market/consumers are the best regulators. Not a bureaucrat deciding what is healthy for you.

  18. Oh right because there's no way the wealthy could subvert a system of elaborate regulations and oversight, right? And small businesses can easily survive said regulations right?

  19. Actually organic foods by definition are food produced by organic farming. It would be pretty simple to label "Produced by organic farming" and have an ad put the message out.
    Regulations do not mean anything when a definition exists. The same way why there are no regulations on ebay yet frauds get easily solved by the justice system (causing a huge drop in said frauds).

  20. Yeah that, along with the currency being worth half as much as it should according to exchange rate makes it so that Western Europe has 15k$ worse PPP per person than the US. That is 30% less.
    And after that, they can barely afford a car. So much for "quality regulations". Their life expectancy is also around 1-2 years more. And ignoring infant mortality, just 1 year. But then come hong kong and singapore. Deregulated (completely) free market fucks over regulation.

  21. Nordic countries have some sort of socialist-democracy system, and that's wy it works. Check at the quality of life here vs the one in the best of the US' states. Dont take my word for it… do your research

  22. You agree and acknowledge that the wealthy can subvert systems designed to protect the public from their malfeasance so your solution is to… make it even easier for them to do so. Brilliant, you're a fucking genius.

  23. Without regulations on advertising and marketing, a company can come up with any number of shady and misleading ways to market their products while technically not lying or defrauding anyone. Without a legal, regulated definition of what "organic apples" are, any apple could be marketed as an "organic apple" and technically be correct. In your ridiculous fantasy world consumers need to constantly research every single purchase they make in order to not get defrauded.

  24. Lysol did that exact fucking thing before regulations stepped in so there goes your ridiculous manchild ideology.

  25. Who the fuck uses PPP to measure standards of living? Dishonest libertarian manchildren? At least you aren't using GDP, I'll give you that.

  26. The question is not what is wrong with me when you can't understand that Monsanto makes GMOs, and therefore motives for benefiting agriculture and health are clouded by big business desires. How can you trust monsanto, when they have people in the FDA doing their bidding (and you accuse anti GMO people of lobbying) and can, have, and will bend our corrupt government's will to favor their wallets. And then we remember that GMOs have been proven to be unhealthy. How can you trust Monsanto or GMOs?

  27. Wow!
    When did I say or even insinuated that I trusted Monsanto?
    Do you even read what I write? Do you think Monsanto is the only company that makes GMOs?
    Hey, Intel has made bad computer chips, let's ban all computer chips from all makers since Intel has somehow made all chips bad.
    All your Monsanto ranting is just an non sequitur. I understand that you don't like/trust Monsanto. Get fucking over it. Hey, Monsanto uses chairs, let's ban all chairs since they now is evil!!

  28. That was a nice comparison. Europe is a bit better than the US but look here is some very rich and very small exceptions (Singapore 5M, Hong Kong 7M).
    But please go there and see what happens if you don't have a fortune.

  29. There's a difference between being an attentive consumer and being forced to research your purchases every single time you go shopping just to make sure the producer of the kidney beans you're about to buy hasn't been involved in any food poisoning scandals this week.

  30. It does not matter. Most people and the median person in both these countries are much better off. The poor do not die, and do not even starve. In hong kong there are a lot of illegal immmigrants from mainland china (100k) so they dont get government education. And these are no exceptions. They are the rule. They are the only examples of what is needed and they prove the point (minarchy). EU is much worse on avg in terms of income than the US, the only thing going for it is life expectancy.

  31. Hypothetical- A container of food says at the very bottom in invisible ink: "Contains lethal doses of arsenic" …What happens then?

  32. Your inclusive connection is arbitrary, and you are not understanding the size of the issue. Yes, monsanto is not the only company that makes GMOs, but is is the principal one. For this reason I use monsanto as an inclusive example to the whole GMO industry. The thing is that in the west, we eat GM crops 3 times a day. 3 times a day we consume all the horrid things that these companies put in our foods.

  33. I don't think your point was that we are eating carcinogenic and toxic food three times a day. Anyways, even if Monsanto was the only company poisoning our food (which it isn't) it would still be a huge deal, being that Monsanto is a huge company, and that no company should be able to do what the GMO industry does.

  34. Actually, you don't need govt to do that. For example, firms such as Fish Legal provide environmental regulation services without need of tax money or govt fiat, and they're quite successful.

    And besides, aren't there too many elected officials more concerned with the next election cycle than the big picture?

  35. That's right, that was not my point. I'm glad you know at least that by now.
    And by your last two post I can't take you seriously anymore. You have gone from a 'concerned consumer' to conspiracy nut.
    "we are eating carcinogenic and toxic food three times a day"
    I wonder when Godwin's law is going to kick in?

  36. Organic isn't small or big business. It's a set of standards that have to be met by the producer. You don't have to grow organic, but if you sell an item as organic, you have to meet this standard.

    What an idiotic video. I swear this organization is designed specifically for the dumbest Americans.

  37. Any set of standards by their very nature are arbitrary. Lobbying groups seek to establish standards with which their partners can easily comply. These new standards become a benchmark which other new competitors must meet in order to sell their products as certified organic.

    Organic v. Conventional may be standards on the consumer or producer side of the house, but they are also restricted in terms of market exchange by governing regulations which are underlying in the industry as a whole.

  38. I just used logic, as concerned consumers do. We have a super surplus of monsanto corn, therefore we have corn starch and corn syrup in a lot of our foods that don't necessarily need them. If we eat food from our supermarkets, we are likely eating more than two contaminated foods daily. Being that there is evidence (which I provided) that GMOs prove a threat, than we are eating these foods likely three times a day. If you just think for a sec, then you might get my logic.

  39. Please explain your logic in the statement: "we are eating carcinogenic and toxic food three times a day"
    Is that factually correct statement?
    Does the current scientific consensus back that statement up?

  40. Well, scientists conduct their tests on GM crops, which we then eat. The tests say they are carcinogenic and toxic. I just explained how it is likely that we eat more than two foods that use GM corn daily. Ergo, we eat carcinogenic and toxic food three times a day.

  41. Nathan seem to think that GMO is some sort of substance and that substance is by definition toxic and carcinogenic since Monsanto is evil. Something like that.

  42. The Jungle was a fictional book, written by an open socialist, who wrote it specifically to demonize that industry. I bet you don't even know, that only like 10 pages of that book has anything to do with the meat industry.

    It's like me saying "Well if X is the prive we have to pay to avoid a repeat of Atlas Shrugged, I am all for it" Repeat of what, when it's just fiction?

  43. No, Dan eats paleo and is fond of saying "Sugar is poison." All the time. When he's not tweeting about lifting. But I don't have time for your dichotomies; I've got to get back to stopping beating my wife.

  44. But what I'm saying is that when we think we're voluntarily buying what we desire, we're not. Companies manipulate us. People think Soda A tastes better than Soda B (even if they're actually the same) entirely because of the pretty packaging or they buy a more expensive car insurance policy from the company with the funniest commercials.

  45. Shale we ban all advertisements as an Objection to Liberty? Now we need a department of truth in garage sale advertising and the like. I do not think it is rational for a person to claim they under the mental control of an advertiser and made bad or destructive decisions by their own hand but not by their conscious decision. It's trying to replace personal responsibility. The only alternate to voluntary exchange is involuntary exchange. That is tyranny.

  46. I have no problem with the aspect of scientists learning about genetics, and the fact that we are "playing god," my issue is with the health concerns that publicly unlabeled GM crops present to the population. Genetic modification does not scare me; I am only concerned with the implications that current GM crops have.

  47. … What I was saying is it would be economically impossible to fund a case long enough to win against a multi-million dollar company. Especially if it is just you versus them. Now I understand you are an idealist, you forget that the masses are idiots and if you left things to an online jury you would find a lot more criminals getting off. Look at how men respond when a cute girl is the one being charged. Regardless of her crime, they will side with her. _Continued_

  48. For that very reason our system is better now than the one you are proposing. The problem is court needs to be fair, protect peoples rights, and dish out justice. Its not always perfect, sometimes crooks get away. Though that will always be better than loosing our liberties.

  49. No, what you do not understand is that we follow common law– this is why the system is flawed. If we were to bring in civil law, things would get much more easier.

  50. Have you heard of class action law suits?
    We need a civil law system. That is what I was trying to say. Laws should not be a voting game or in the hands of the all powerful juror– but the law. An online jury means an artificially intelligent one which is given variables and gives desired result based upon them (like siri).

  51. This is America, what sin is considered is not considered to be the law. An A.I? Do you know where A.I, technology is at? AI is only capable of reacting to some very basic situations, not on thinking at the level needed to spot lies. Then you have malfunction, if the machine is malfunctioning you could send a number of innocents to jail. If you want a better justice system go to law school, read all about how ours works, decide all the liberties everyone may want, then protect them.
    -Continued-

  52. Civil court still cost money to utilize, unless you have the money to pay for it, or are skilled enough to get your point across in a short time, then you are out of luck.

  53. Use a scale of negative liberty violation. Fraud and other things can be sued, murder can be punished.
    So does common law. Lawyers will exist to present cases to AI.

  54. I first learned about the enormous cost of the "organic label" to small farmers when I worked for Whole Foods a while back. The reason why there are so few certified organic companies in the U.S. is because the government makes it so expensive to actually obtain a certification that the entire industry ends up being one big oligopoly.

  55. SOUNDS like it makes sense, but I can't shake the feeling that without some regulation (at the very least, someone should be feeding questionable food to a lab rat just to see if it dies) food safety might not be so great.

    Am not happy with the increase of cost in the production of food that step would take, but a totally unregulated free market doesn't have the best record about giving a damn about the health consumers as long as profits are healthy.

  56. If a company sold eggs which were known to contain salmonella and people were hurt by it there would be a lot of news surrounding it. The cost of legal battles to the company would be damaging. The cost of lost business would be damaging. It would be more beneficial to the company to sell healthy food.

  57. The government sure doesn't care about you, they care about lobbyists giving them money. So now you have corn in everything.

  58. If you look at historical evidence, safety came as a consequence of competition between food producers. Don't forget that there is an allowable amount of foreign material allowed in packaged foods, which is a regulation that comes from the FDA. Does that mean it can't make someone sick? No, it just means that the FDA determined the safety vs. cost benefit, and not the companies themselves.

  59. Funny is the fact that most of Learn Liberty 'professors' teach or have studied in very mediocre and/or religious universities. Also, Edward Stringhman actually teaches in a state university. Lol. The irony…
    Howard Baetjer also teaches in a state university. And so do many others of them.

    Want to know why all these so-called 'economists' studied and teach at very very mediocre state universities? Because they were too poor in economics and mathematics for the likes of Yale, Harvard, LSE, etc.

  60. When i study librarian arguments and reasoning I wonder who it is they are attempting to argue against. So regulations harm small businesses but, help big businesses? You're telling me that gov't is in bed with big business? What a revelation ! How could I have missed that? When you use the term "government" in place of "regulation" you are using doublespeak and you're missing the point. Regulations can be positive so long as the big business doesn't buy our representatives.

  61. Except you will never remove the idea of "buying" big government. Whenever have a qualifying power people will associate with it and develop commonalities to have a relationship. Those who don't have the resources can't develop it because they are centered in a smaller locus of society. People buy things in which that are already made. This use of buying though runs contradictory to that fact as if somehow money changed the product in the hands of the consumer.

  62. Whether or not a big business supports or opposes regulation depends on how much it expects to gain from the cartelizing benefits. The right amount of government regulation keeps the market free from pesky competitors, but too much regulation starts doing more harm than good to the business it affects. Increasing regulation doesn't address the effects of the cartel it creates and generally results in greater business-government cooperation as business lobbies for its removal.

  63. The problem is, gov't regulation or not, business that are supposed to compete with each other really don't. There's another video on this channel that explains how competing companies actually share all most all their information with each other. So I say what competition? The big whigs of these companies have their cocktail parties together. They mingle. The CEO of JC Panie and the CEO of Macy's share drinks and shoot the shit with each other. But we need to keep the gov. out of those parties

  64. So the love of profit and fear of loss for is enough?

    Wow! So all those stories I hear about companies screwing over the health of people for profit must have been wrong!

    As for the legal battles, don't we need a government for that?

  65. Subsidies to corn farmers makes it cheaper to use high fructose corn syrup. This is one reason why you can get a double cheeseburger for a dollar, while a salad is $4.99.

  66. Yes, regulations do produce distortions in supply and demand, that much is obvious. But I don't see how this provides a case for the cessation of all governmental food regulations. That would be mental.

  67. This is a crock. They're taking the public health concern and injecting misinformation. I've personally lost 25 lb. in 2 months shopping at local farmers markets and whole foods. The biggest reason why a bag of potatoes at Safeway is cheaper than a bag of potatoes at your local farmers market is because your local farmer doesn't get the subsidy that the potato corporation that supplies Safeway gets. The real answer is to stop the food subsidy all together. If food subsidies were  removed from the market all together, we would see a real free-market response to all of the food processing because the processed food costs several times more than unprocessed food. The money for processing the food has to come from somewhere and it comes from both our taxes and the loan repayments received by providing "aid" to third world countries. (See Aid as Imperialism by Teresa Hayter; http://amzn.to/1tz2aVr)

  68. I think I missed the bit where he talked about health, as suggested by the title. Must've have been drowned out by all that libertarian rhetoric

  69. A subsidy is a very different animal than a law stating you can not sell vegetables grown in toxic waste. This is a very stupid video that means absolutely nothing.

  70. without regulation,
    .. there will be food ,
    from, cheap 'come from no where' 'unhealthy' to expensive 'healthy' food
    some producer will fight to be cheap ..
    some producer will fight to be healthy..
    That will happen … only that simple ….and nothing to do with KFC or McD

  71. Food regulations are soo overrated … mouse poo, e-coli bacteria and saw dust are valueable ingredients in baby food …

  72. Food regulations are still needed. Just look at China a perfect example where there are no food regulations so you end up with melamine in your milk and infant formula.

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