The bollocksy economic argument for veganism

The traditional three arguments in this field are around health, ethics and the environment – I just wanted to have a fourth perspective, which was economics,” he says. “If I can reach people through another set of arguments they may not have heard before then there’s just one other way to open the door.”

The figures Simon puts forward are so big as to defy comprehension: he says the externalised cost of America’s animal food system is US$414bn annually. Three-quarters of that is expenditure on healthcare relating to the “epidemics” of obesity, diabetes and heart disease that Simon says are driven by high rates of consumption of meat and dairy.

As we all know it’s sugar, an entirely vegan product, which produces those things. Thus the argument must be wrong, right?

Consumption has skyrocketed because, Simon says, of the system of government subsidies, legislation and regulation he outlines in Meatonomics that allows animal food producers to keep output high and retail prices artificially low. If the industry were forced to cover its total costs, instead of imposing them on taxpayers, animals and the environment, a US$4 Big Mac would cost about $11, he says.

Hmm. That’s from a lawyer trying to do economics. Not willing to pay for the book but would like to see his model there.

19 comments on “The bollocksy economic argument for veganism

  1. — “he says the externalised cost of America’s animal food system is US$414bn annually…relating to the “epidemics” of obesity, diabetes and heart disease that Simon says are driven by high rates of consumption of meat and dairy.”

    So, not externalised then.

  2. Q: How do you know if someone is a vegan?

    A: You don’t need to. They will tell you, at great length.

  3. At $5 or $6 a Big Mac, producers like Brazil and Argentina would expand capacity to compete. We’d never reach $11 a burger.

  4. Was that a British government agency denying an organic milk producer’s claim they are good for the environment on the grounds that all milk production is bad for the environment?

    I am down with an Ecksian purge any time. I think we have identified another target.

  5. the system of government subsidies, legislation and regulation

    I suspect this includes legislation that allows people to farm animals for food and subsidies like not taxing beef farmers $1m pa for being evil.

  6. As we all know it’s sugar, an entirely vegan product, which produces those things.

    Given Mr. Vegan Lawyer’s keen grasp of nutritional science, one can assume his economic modeling rivals the sophistication and accuracy of Spud’s tax gap calculations.

  7. I prefer:

    Q: How do you know if someone is a vegan?

    A: You don’t need to. They have already told you.

  8. I don’t understand the logic. When I eat less meat I gain weight. This is because I have to eat far more food than I did before to get the lipids and proteins my body needs. Surely obesity and diabetes costs should drop because I eat animals.

    Then again I have problems digesting certain foods. So far I’ve tracked the issue to compounds that have a methyl-sulfur bond. This means I have to limit my consumption foods with methyl mercaptains, like green vegetables. Perhaps Simon is able to eat things like soy but not everyone is.

  9. “If God didn’t want us to eat the animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat.”

  10. “As we all know it’s sugar, an entirely vegan product, which produces those things” – i.e. obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

    No we don’t all know that. Probably because it’s not true.

  11. If God had wanted us to be vegans he’d have put our eyes in the sides of our heads rather than at the front with binocular vision.

  12. Turning vegan would be very bad for my health… because then I would have to kill myself.

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