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Big Meat Is The Next Enemy After Big Oil

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We would, perhaps, hope for a little more logical ability among those who write the newspapers and news sites for us. Take this example from Vox. Big Meat spends money on lobbying, this is terrible, naughty, why would they do such a thing? This follows on from the manner in which Big Oil spends on lobbying politicians. No doubt, soon enough, we’ll add Big Tech to the list of people doing this entirely non-understandable thing.

The bit where they’re not thinking is that they don;t understand why people do lobby. Because politics has determined to interfere with this method of making a living. Thus it is necessary to interact with politics if this is the way that you do make a living.

When I was doing scandium for a living there was no politics to it. Simply because with a global market turnover of perhaps $1 million a year there was no political interest in having anything to do with it. Or, for the more cynical – and probably correctly so – there was no money to be extorted from the scandium industry to feed the political system. It wasn’t big enough to gain interest in discussing subsidy, there certainly wasn’t enough there to make it worthwhile trying to skim from it. That second was, by the way, also true of the Russian state which was definitively more grasping than any other at the time.

But Vox?

It’s not just Big Oil. Big Meat also spends millions to crush good climate policy.
A new study reveals how the companies you buy meat from block climate action.

Well, why would they do that? Because there’s a metric f-tonne of people out there using the political process to try to close down Big Meat. Everyone from the militant vegetarians through those who just hate corporate anything to those who – in an amusing piece of misguidance – demand we all eat local foods. That last amusing because of course the emissions from inefficient production processes are vastly greater than any transport emissions – local food would increase, not reduce, emissions therefore.

Climate change, in much of this lobbying against Big Meat, is the excuse to close it down, not the reason. At which point, it should be possible to understand why Big Meat lobbies. To stop people closing it down through the political process. Actions do, after all, bring about reactions.

“US beef and dairy companies appear to act collectively in ways similar to the fossil fuel industry, which built an extensive climate change countermovement,” write the authors of the study, published in the journal Climatic Change.

One of the authors, Jennifer Jacquet, says the paper should spur a vigorous public response. “People should be mad,” she said. “And we should build a system where we can prevent this kind of influence.”

The joy is that we can do that. If one side of the political aisle stops lobbying on the one side then the other will be quite happy not to have to spend the money to stop them succeeding.Stop constructing facile political arguments to close down dairy farming and dairy farmers will stop lobbying against facile political arguments.

However, attempting to stop people using extant political powers to achieve their goals isn’t one of the things that’s going to work. What needs to be done is restrict the political powers. If government doesn’t have the power to favour small scale farming against big, or big against small, then there’s no point in lobbying government in favour of small – or big – scale farming.

That is, government lobbying is easily dealt with, minarchy is the solution. Get the Federal Government back to 3% of GDP, responsible for defence and international relationships with other governments – and nothing else – and we’re done. Or, as we might put it, the way of acceding to the progressive demand that lobbying stop is to make impossible any kind of progressivism.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. But if you make progressivism impossible, the progressives will lobby against it. You can imagine the anti-lobbying lobby lobbying to have lobbying against anti-lobbying forbidden.

    Alas if power exists, people who wish to take advantage of it, or wish to make sure it’s not used against them, will always suck up to it.

  2. It’s Big Green and Big Renewables and Big Climate that bother me. But I suppose strictures against lobbying don’t apply to them.

  3. I am not aware of any inefficiencies (except from my walking a few miles to the fruit/vegetable markets) in my buying local foods: the small lorry transporting meat from farm to butcher may consume more petrol per ton-mile than Tesco’s but it doesn’t travel one-quarter (probably not one-tenth) of the distance. There are lots of inefficiencies in US big meat.
    OTOH there is horrendous waste as a result of multi£million lobbying by vegan/vegetarian-food companies. Far too often I walk into Tesco and see piles of vegan/militant-vegetarian stuff on “reduced for clearance”, not all of which is picked up by the poor-and-hungry. [My best intentions on avoiding waste (well, having been born during Attlee’s rationing … ) struggle to overcome the poor value of the veggie/vegan offers at “reduced for clearance” prices: sometimes a second reduction gets them down a price equivalent to comparable non-reduced prices for meat products.]

  4. John77, you are talking about local transport still, whereas Timmy said it was in production that eat local breeds inefficiencies; smallish holdings serving a local market being significantly less efficient than large megafarms serving a(n inter)national one.

  5. I presume the problem is bovines belch and fart. Fun fact there are the same number head of cattle in the US tody as there were buffalo on the plains of America before they were hunted out. I reckon the methane generation isn’t at all that different than it was in 1820.

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