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Speaker: Talking past each other: Ideological silos and research

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Danielle,

    I’m fat. I’m in my 40s. I currently don’t have any health problems. I never really have (except the ones caused by pregnancy). THE FATTIES WALK AMONG US. We all need to think about how we talk about this. You know?

    I’m sorry Danielle, I just assumed from your Avatar that you were quite svelte, I really didn’t have any idea that you considered yourself anything else.
    I was brought up to believe that “fat” people were happy people and people came in all kinds of shapes, sizes and demeanors, people are people. I am also one of those people that think it stinks that there is an “Ideal” weight, shape and personality, there is not.

    Anyway, there is a subject we were discussing. Is a sugar tax needed?
    Personally I consider the problem lies with those that profit from the consumption of vast amounts of unnecessary anything, be it sugar, tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs…. I could go on.
    Will a tax on these things help? We have seen a huge decrease in tobacco consumption with the increase in taxation but who pays? the offender or the victim?.
    I can’t see a way to make the offender pay, they will just pass the cost on to the people addicted to their product.
    Let’s see what has worked in the past. Smokers have become a pariah and so less people smoke. Drunk drivers have become social enemies and their actions treated as crimes with no allowance for alcoholics that could be seen as having a medical problem rather than a homicidal bent. Alienation is a tool of the worst kind so the ends have to justify the means.
    If these things were seen as a social problem and that society beats the will of the individual then we must ask “Is being considered “overweight” a social problem that harms society as a whole and if it is how do we reduce the social harm?”
    Personally I think being considered “over the perceived perfect mass” is a social problem, we shouldn’t all have to be like Kate Moss, the problem is that the message society is getting is that we should.
    If you are happy with yourself then I am happy for you too, if your weight is making you sick then, maybe, you should do something about it.

    And hey, Russ, just because it didn’t help doesn’t mean I didn’t try.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Hi Steve. I edited a par out of the comment above. It was a bit tone-deaf.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hi Steve. I edited a par out of the comment above. It was a bit tone-deaf.

    Jeez….
    How openly tone-deafist of you…
    Unfair to the tone impaired...
    :-(

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    but who pays? the offender or the victim?

    And that's very much the core of a number of folks objection to a tax.

    The answer is yes the consumer pays but it has also had a huge impact on the producers. Tobacco companies have shrunk hugely over the last two decades, those that remain have shifted their markets to countries without tobacco taxes and diversified.

    So both ends of the chain were affected.

    It would be nice if there was a way of only affecting the producer but I haven't seen a method that works anywhere with any product. The only thing I've seen work consistently across multiple products and multiple markets is taxation/duty/excise with a large dose of marketing control (ie limit advertising).

    It isn't perfect, it affects some groups more than others and in some cases it's really hard to balance that, not impossible but hard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It would be nice if there was a way of only affecting the producer

    Well if you take my examples of alienation you could say that the producers are the only ones that pay, in terms of money, and the victim is forced to conform to society's norm, which is good, isn't it? well, it worked for Hi.... (I will avoid the obvious Godwin there)
    There is, of course more subtle and positive ways of achieving the same result, less market for the bad guys and a better outcome for the victim*, Marketing Control as you put it.
    Public education, Advertising campaigns, bumper stickers, whatever. These things cost money so taxation is the way to go but take it from the general tax, not a special tax. After all, it is Society as a whole that is demanding the change.

    * Victim isn't really the right word here but I think it serves to illustrate the point about labeling* in this instance.

    * I am not talking about food labeling here...
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'd personally want to see if reintroducing the food caused the problem again.

    I check many things, but there are some things that taste so vile I doubt it's a gut thing, it's a super-taster thing. I'm generally concerned about getting enough variety in my diet, because I know I tend to habituate on foods. But stuff I like but my gut doesn't... I test that. Hot cross buns, fruit bread (so bad in so many ways if you look at the FODMAP exclusions)... I love them, so I eat them anyway. But most legumes blow straight through, and I know they still do because so many vegetarian things have unexpected legume content. Which my gut detects...

    It also fascinates me that people are so happy to experiment on themselves

    I'd happily experiment on someone else but until we can clone microbiota it seems unlikely to help. The broad studies do look likely to be useful... in about 20-50 years. I want something that lets me eat enough to stay alive, now. So I eat random stuff from time to time (tomorrow: lactose-free yoghurt, which is a thing now, so I bought some). The good news about my gut is that it's pretty fast-recovering, I have not (so far) been forced into bed for a day... instead I spend quality time on the toilet.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Would those who readily despair over the dietary intransigence of lesser mortals be prepared to modify their own eating habits for the greater good?

    Have done, for a long time, still do. I have made a whole heap of "lifestyle changes" for the greater good. I have started eating (kangaroo)meat again recently because being vegetarian while also eliminating legumes and most pulses from my diet proved to be ridiculously difficult. But eating the latter was becoming impossible.

    I have done a bunch of "experiments" which actually look more like chemistry than biology. I eat a lot of soup because it goes in square plastic jars in the fridge easily, and then to work. Or the freezer. So I make big pots of soup once a week, and put different mixtures of vegetables, beans and stuff in. Occasionally an experiment will result in my partner being told "there's 10 litres of soup in the fridge for you to eat", because I ate one bowl of it, waited half an hour, it wanted out so I went to the toilet, then felt weak and queasy for 24 hours.

    At the risk of somewhat derailing, I am one of those people, who lives somewhat under the global GHG allowance/energy intensity level and puts a perhaps silly amount of work into the three Rs. My indulgences are Lego and a couple of geek toys a year. It's possibly that 3kW of PV on the roof counts as an indulgence too, pay a premium for 100% wind power on top of that is either indulgence or insane... you choose.

    (roo here is a game meat, you can't farm them so the meat is all wild shot, it's the least unsustainable meat I can find. I'd welcome correction if I'm wrong, but that's what my literature search said)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Moz,

    roo here is a game meat, you can't farm them so the meat is all wild shot, it's the least unsustainable meat I can find. I'd welcome correction if I'm wrong, but that's what my literature search said

    "Plastic wombat" was an expression I came across in Australia - someone who tries to live as far off the grid as possible while remaining in the city, e.g. solar panels and tank water on a Paddo terrace. Obviously you're not one of those, all the best with your ongoing experiments,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    people on each side of these kinds of debates are so ideologically opposed to each other that they can’t respect each other as people let alone as intellectuals.

    Could this be the disease reaching epidemic proportions in the western world?
    Pigheadedness.

    “paternalistic” regulations or “policies to protect people from themselves” should be questioned as threats to liberty. The foreword states: “until recently the assumption still remained that in principle, at least, consumers should be free to choose for themselves.

    This is, well to me, the contradiction that lies at the heart of this mindset. The market is put on a god-like pedestal as the final arbiter of "good" or "bad" . Yet these people are busily manipulating this god-like entity- so easily manipulated- to their benefit.
    I have yet to come across anyone or anything that will "protect people from themselves"
    And any discussion about freewill is more informative if neuroscientists are taking part. If lobby groups are bringing it up, Beware!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    We have seen a huge decrease in tobacco consumption with the increase in taxation but who pays? the offender or the victim?.

    Some interesting things to consider there Steve. Most notably is that the huge decrease hasn’t occurred in isolation but as part of a vast raft of measures.

    With regards to smoking and any addiction I think it’s well worth asking how much much income we as a society wish to derive from citizens’ addictions and misery. I’d wager that by’offenders’ above you were citing tobacco companies,but the fact remains that the profit derived by tobacco companies is a pittance compared to the taxation accrued by the Government at smokers’ expense.

    Having lived through some of these implemented measures, I’ve found the effects on my own consumption oddly circular, I pay $45 or so dollars now for a 30g of tobacco up from $15 dollars 2 decades ago, a pricing plan that has put me in the enviable position of now growing my tobacco for myself and anyone else that wishes to ‘steal’ some. The seeds were not difficult to acquire, and I managed to source another plant at the local market, grown by a horticultural lecturer at our local government funded polytech.

    I don’t wish to discredit taxation as a means of quelling consumer demand, but I fear when that taxation becomes so exorbitant that it’s creating new cottage industries to avoid this taxation while the Government generates record breaking income, then more wherewithal is required by authorities as to what may constitute realistic and reasonable outcomes.

    With regards to the topic at hand, I’m astonished as to how we could stage such a debate, a debate essentially about the human body, without much said about either the role our water consumption may play in mitigating the effects of poor diet, and as an appetite suppressant, and even more obviously the role exercise (?) plays in maintaining health. It’s almost a discussion about a machine, focusing on one fuel element with little concern for the output i.e. the function of the machine.

    For those calling for taxation, I see this as an ideal opportunity to ask how much tax will be enough and and what point might that taxation cross the line from a reasonable measure for improving public health to cynical income generation off the back of addiction ~ with possible undesirable side effects such as losing control of supply, pricing; the market essentially.

    When you have a taxation system that has become so convoluted that prime time TV adverts tout NZ’s first Consumer trusted tax refund company in assisting taxpayers in legally accessing refunds they’ve been overtaxed, and succeeding in doing so with 9/10 customers, then you can more or less guarantee that in this kind of environment the implementation of yet another tax will not be an easy sell.

    If this taxation were being proposed with the objective of funding a full dental care program then I would most probably support it.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I don’t feel comfortable (safe) knowing that discussions about the discussion are going on elsewhere.

    Me either, I’ve realised. Aspie stuff again.

    However trying to control the social environment is the wrong response for my own wellbeing. I apologise for upsetting people by doing that.

    Seeing other people do it annoys me, but that’s mine to deal with. Likewise experiencing other behaviours that trouble me. Am doing some personal work at present to more comfortably let people act out their own stuff, follow their own path through life. I’m not responsible for others, and nor them for me.

    The world is mainly beautiful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks Sacha. Your responses were certainly part of the problem in the thread and I appreciate you acknowledging that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Interesting to see that Coke sales are in steady decline in the USA (and presumably also in NZ) which is probably why they are buying up anything that can be bottled (check the labels). Many shops and cafes seem to sell only Coke-owned beverages.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Your responses were certainly part of the problem in the thread

    Certainly were. Taking action to prevent that. It has been a reflective few weeks/days.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Many shops and cafes seem to sell only Coke-owned beverages.

    Also workplaces and educational institutions. Chances are, if there's a Coke machine on your campus, they'll have signed an exclusive deal to exclude any other manufacturer's product.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sacha,

    The world is mainly beautiful.

    Good on you Sacha, that was an inspiring post. *hugs*

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to mark taslov,

    thank you, mark

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    See here the man who invented the Segway is trying to get clean water to everyone on earth. And he’s realised that the Coka Cola company has the best logistical machine to do that.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to mark taslov,

    Thank you Mark.
    Nice to see someone take what I say on board and offer another perspective, rather than just snidely attacking or, God forbid, editing my comments….

    Your comments on tobacco as a way of gouging taxation, from a hopelessly addicted population, is a pure example of the way I see the world operating these days, exploit the weak, oh, hang on, that’s been going on a while, we should have grown out of that by now.
    But this is a gem…

    For those calling for taxation, I see this as an ideal opportunity to ask how much tax will be enough and and what point might that taxation cross the line from a reasonable measure for improving public health to cynical income generation off the back of addiction ~ with possible undesirable side effects such as losing control of supply, pricing; the market essentially.

    Very close to…

    For those calling for taxation, I see this as an ideal opportunity to ask how much tax will be enough and and what point might that taxation cross the line from a reasonable measure for improving society to cynical income generation off the back of addiction ~ with possible undesirable side effects such as losing control.
    Which is how I would have liked to put it
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to steven crawford,

    And he’s realised that the Coka Cola company has the best logistical machine

    Coca Cola would already have had a good Idea and the rest is jam..

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    or, God forbid, editing my comments

    welcome to the not-jungle

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sacha,

    But they are my comments….
    It is actually more like the jungle in here than you would like to think.
    Not that there is anything wrong with jungles, I wouldn't want to offend anything.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    But they are my comments….

    Yeah, but you have to go with my judgement because it’s my house. And if things are wrong it always comes back to me.

    I didn’t want to just delete the comment because it was saying something, but that one small part was going to be a problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    they are my comments

    nothing sacred about em. may not notice the times when mine get edited. all part of the package, Steve.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to steven crawford,

    See here the man who invented the Segway is trying to get clean water to everyone on earth.

    Given the Segway's track record - unaffordably overpriced, heavily restricted use, the guy who bought the company killed using his own product - that clean water might be a while coming.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

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