Meat Should Be Expensive
Ezra Klein takes a long look at the extraordinarily dumb and hopefully collapsing system of meat production in the United States.
Overconsumption of meat imposes huge costs on both the environment and on public health. And that’s to say nothing of the indefensible cruelty that characterizes CAFO operations. Yet we spend billions to subsidize ever cheaper meat. And billions more to treat the ill health that results from our meat-heavy diets. And we will pay billions, even trillions, more, to handle the environmental damage that eventually results from these policies. It’s an incredibly odd state of affairs, like paying someone to touch up your house with lead paint.
I recently paid $6.99 for a frozen package of five chicken fingers from Whole Foods (review coming). Does this make me particularly happy? No. Because I’m used to having the equivalent of five chicken fingers of meat for probably half of my meals in a week, and that expectation is both unrealistic and increasingly harmful. Remember that in a market economy, you can pay for something with more than money: time, political capital, dead bodies, etc. We’ve been buying our meat on environmental and societal credit, and the interest charges are about to go way up.
(H/T: Andrew Sullivan)