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Mani in the Mayor

Mani's got a brother in the mayor of New York. Mayor Bloomberg has proposed to outlaw the sale of large, sugary sodas. All in the name of saving the citizen from 'excess' calories.

Pray, why does the citizen need saving?

Note Frank J. Fleming's analysis: 'Anyway, the principle we’ve learned is that man can’t survive if he has to make choices for himself. Think about it: From what to eat to what to wear to what to do, you basically do nothing but make choices about your life all day long. It’s annoying and tiresome, and none of us has read all the scientific studies to know what’s healthy to eat and how much exercise we need. We need smart people to limit this insane number of choices so we can know what to do. Thus we have politicians who hover above us (or, in Bloomberg’s case, below us) watching us lovingly and telling us what to do for our own benefit...

So does Bloomberg hate people eating sweets and other tasty foods? Obviously not. In fact, one of his first jobs was working inside a tree making cookies. And he’s been a longtime member of the Lollipop Guild. He just knows that without his direct control, you won’t be able to enjoy unhealthy foods in moderation, because, really, just look at how fat and stupid you all are. Actually, don’t look; it’s too depressing. Instead, keep your gaze on the health guru Bloomberg. Don’t you want a physique like his? He’s like a halfling warrior. See, Bloomberg embodies his own principles, as he’s not a wastefully large politician like New Jersey’s Chris Christie; instead, he’s fun-sized.

So whether you want to or not, you’re going to get healthy. Because whether or not to be healthy is yet another one of those confusing choices that Bloomberg is making for you. Right now, he’s taking away unhealthy choices. Perhaps his next step can be to take away your choice to not eat healthy things like apples (not that apples are always safe — just ask Bloomberg’s close friend Snow White — but they’re certainly safer than anything fried or containing bacon). And should you exercise? If you’re confused on that question, don’t worry; Bloomberg will decide that for you.'

Well, what can I say? Thank you, Bloomie. Thank you, Mani.

For saving us from our own stupid selves!


Comments

Ranjit said…
...however, this does throw up the fact that "large, sugary sodas" (and stuff like that) are bad for us.

Should this create any kind of a moral dilemma for the marketer? Is he obligated to try and sell it to the consumer, yet tell him that it might kill him? And if so, where should it end? (Till yesterday I used to shy away from coffee and chocolate - today they tell me that if I had indeed indulged in both, I could have expected to live much longer. Duh!)

Should the consumer not assume any responsibility at all for his/her consumption patterns?
Ray Titus said…
Ranjit,

Note Friedman:

'The discussions of the "social responsibili­ties of business" are notable for their analytical looseness and lack of rigor. What does it mean to say that "business" has responsibilities? Only people can have responsibilities. A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but "business" as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense. The first step toward clarity in examining the doctrine of the social responsibility of business is to ask precisely what it implies for whom...

I have called it a "fundamentally subversive doctrine" in a free society, and have said that in such a society, "there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud. '
Ranjit said…
Wow! Perfect sense! How simple you make it sound. Have to agree with that :)
Except, I would leave out the word "deception" - can get to be a pretty grey area, that!

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