Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Can we escape?

Michael Snyder has written a good piece on waste ("About 40 Percent Of All Food In The United States Is Thrown In The Garbage", 1 October). But as one of his sources makes clear, something like that percentage starts as garbage:

The food I sell is not healthy, by any stretch. I sell potato chips, candy bars, bread, canned food, ice cream, soda, packaged meat, cigarettes and alcohol. I noticed quickly that a common ingredient of most of the foods is sugar and grains. Sugar and grains are easy to grow and produce cheaply and are used as fillers in processed food to cut cost and mask the taste of other questionable ingredients. Grains work in conjunction with sugars to inflame the body and compromise the immune system. Grains and sugars also have no nutritional value besides calories, so on top of inflaming the body; they do not provide the sustenance the body needs to survive. As the functions of the body require these nutrients the diet lacks, the body sucks these minerals from the bones, teeth and brain. Bone loss, and tooth decay and decreased brain function are the unfortunate symptoms of malnutrition. The poorest of the customers I serve are also the sickest. I have witnessed toothless mouths in the young and old. Mental retardation is also a common trait among many of them. I have even witnessed one unfortunate woman whose skin was a pale green color. These people are dying a slow starvation and they don’t even know it.

I think all this is connected to what Marxists call "reification", the process whereby a need or function becomes institutionalised and then the agenda is driven by that institution's instinct to survive and thrive. In this case, the manufacturer's need to widen profit margins by using cheap ingredients, and the supermarket's need to have products with a long shelf life, so skewing them towards sugar, salt and other preservatives.

Food, health, education, crime prevention, entertainment, government - almost all of it comes in somebody else's box.

The case for freedom is sometimes overstated. We give up a lot of freedom for an easy, comfortable life. But when the institutions become toxic, we begin to think like Huck Finn:

I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.

Even the wrapper is useful. Pic source.

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