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Thread: Overconsumption

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    Zombie Jesus Bloody School Daze's Avatar
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    Overconsumption

    So, while we're talking about things whose unchecked growth creates problems, I want to get into a somewhat different concept that's related.

    That is to say, the average size of restaurant meals. this graphic here suggests a trend, wherein we spend money increasingly on things we don't need, without necessarily knowing we're doing it. This could actually become something really incredible if we took advantage of this.

    For instance, say we required McDonalds and other burger joints to limit the size of their burgers to 1980s levels. There might be some drop in price, but if everyone did it, it'd be unlikely to be too bad. So you'd have basically the same amount of money going to a business that has less actual places to spend it (since there isn't as big of a requirement for raw materials anymore, so you wouldn't have to pay for as many farms). That money could then go to an area sorely needing it, such as wiping out human trafficking or feeding the third world.

    I recognize a few hiccups to this plan already, but I figure it's at least worth considering. What do you all think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vortex View Post
    So, while we're talking about things whose unchecked growth creates problems, I want to get into a somewhat different concept that's related.

    That is to say, the average size of restaurant meals. this graphic here suggests a trend, wherein we spend money increasingly on things we don't need, without necessarily knowing we're doing it. This could actually become something really incredible if we took advantage of this.

    For instance, say we required McDonalds and other burger joints to limit the size of their burgers to 1980s levels. There might be some drop in price, but if everyone did it, it'd be unlikely to be too bad. So you'd have basically the same amount of money going to a business that has less actual places to spend it (since there isn't as big of a requirement for raw materials anymore, so you wouldn't have to pay for as many farms). That money could then go to an area sorely needing it, such as wiping out human trafficking or feeding the third world.

    I recognize a few hiccups to this plan already, but I figure it's at least worth considering. What do you all think?
    Fast food joint serving sizes are a lot smaller in Europe than they are in the States. So what you're proposing could only be implemented on a national scale.

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    Zombie Jesus Bloody School Daze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    Fast food joint serving sizes are a lot smaller in Europe than they are in the States. So what you're proposing could only be implemented on a national scale.
    Fair enough, though I'm not too fussed about which industries get this slapped on them. Perhaps there's some other area of European life that's overpriced due to excess material usage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vortex View Post
    Fair enough, though I'm not too fussed about which industries get this slapped on them. Perhaps there's some other area of European life that's overpriced due to excess material usage.
    I'm sure there are plenty; excessively stocked supermarkets spring to mind. However, I've got a problem with this:

    So you'd have basically the same amount of money going to a business that has less actual places to spend it (since there isn't as big of a requirement for raw materials anymore, so you wouldn't have to pay for as many farms). That money could then go to an area sorely needing it, such as wiping out human trafficking or feeding the third world.
    If a business makes more money than it has to spend, then it certainly won't give it to charity. It will use it to expand.

    Also, raising prices – especially of budget items such as fast food – usually doesn't result in increased earnings, but quite contrarily, in a decrease, as fewer people will be able to afford it and the demand for the product will thus drop.

    So your idea is kind but it makes no sense from a microeconomic point of view.

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    Zombie Jesus Bloody School Daze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    If a business makes more money than it has to spend, then it certainly won't give it to charity. It will use it to expand.
    Well of course, but that's where the government comes in. Businesses would be paying this money in as taxes, somewhere. Now, tax evasion is a legitimate concern, but the panama papers proved that if you have an actual body of humans investigating it then maybe that's less of a problem. Ad for those that do it through legal loopholes, finding ways to eliminate those loopholes would be good, and perhaps a reason why I have a bit of an imperialist bent as well.

    Also, raising prices – especially of budget items such as fast food – usually doesn't result in increased earnings, but quite contrarily, in a decrease, as demand for the product drops.

    So your idea is kind but it makes no sense from a microeconomic point of view.
    But there's the thing: The price wouldn't increase. It'd either stay the same or decrease slightly. Demand might drop a bit, but pick the right kind of product and apply the restrictions to the whole industry and you'll still have a good consumer base--people aren't going to stop buying hamburgers in large numbers because there's a bit less hamburger.. They might buy other hamburgers, but if there aren't those others to buy...well, yeah.
    If I'm so wonderful then why am I so misunderstood?
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    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Burgers have tripled in size?! surely not everywhere...because I'd need about 9 McDonald's burgers to quench my appetite if they were 1/3 the size...probably more if I had to work as hard as people did in the 50s.
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    Member Guess Who's Avatar
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    I am not sure if your scheme would raise much money. Why not just get the government to raise the rate of a tax, levy a new tax or reduce government expenditure if you want to raise money to solve world problems?

    Politicians strive to make themselves popular with voters to get re-elected. What would the motivation for be politicians to increase taxes or reduce government spending in their own countries to address problems in foreign countries?

    How exactly would the money be spent and by whom to address these problems that you mention? Do you think such actions would have a realistic chance of being successful?

    Of course over-consumption has the potential to create major problems but opportunities for economic growth are harder and harder to find. My view is that there are no real prospects for economic growth anywhere around the world ever again. I expect the world will continue to struggle along in its current low-growth phase through various central bank and market manipulations for about another 15 years before the international money completely system collapses. The money system relies on constant growth but we have reached the limits of growth, in an economic sense rather than an ecological sense.
    Last edited by Guess Who; 10-02-2016 at 10:02 PM.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Burgers have tripled in size?! surely not everywhere...because I'd need about 9 McDonald's burgers to quench my appetite if they were 1/3 the size...probably more if I had to work as hard as people did in the 50s.
    They aren't making a proper comparison. It's like comparing a White Castle slider to a double Whopper. The truth is a regular old McDonald's hamburger is still a little under four ounces. Burger King is in the same ballpark, so long as you stick to the baseline hamburgers, the masses remain about the same. It's only when you go to the flagship big products that you see a bump in masses--because it's what people wanted. If the bigger burgers didn't put money in the till, they wouldn't bother--but you can still buy the 1950's era burger. That graphic is very (and deliberately) misleading. Same is true for smaller portions of fries, and no one is making anyone buy a 42oz beverage, though if you want 7oz, you're going to have restrain yourself when filling your cup.

    I also strongly object to the paternalism and am appalled at the idea of gleefully handing such authority to the government so as to forcibly control other people's diets. Educate and Train, not Mandate and Restrain. These are people, not cattle--though I understand how one could err there.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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    Member Aurast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    I also strongly object to the paternalism and am appalled at the idea of gleefully handing such authority to the government so as to forcibly control other people's diets. Educate and Train, not Mandate and Restrain. These are people, not cattle--though I understand how one could err there.
    Yeah that's pretty invasive as far as regulation goes. I think they're already doing it to some extent in NYC.

    And if prices decline for any reason I'd rather have the difference stay in my bank account.

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    Zombie Jesus Bloody School Daze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    They aren't making a proper comparison. It's like comparing a White Castle slider to a double Whopper. The truth is a regular old McDonald's hamburger is still a little under four ounces. Burger King is in the same ballpark, so long as you stick to the baseline hamburgers, the masses remain about the same. It's only when you go to the flagship big products that you see a bump in masses--because it's what people wanted. If the bigger burgers didn't put money in the till, they wouldn't bother--but you can still buy the 1950's era burger. That graphic is very (and deliberately) misleading. Same is true for smaller portions of fries, and no one is making anyone buy a 42oz beverage, though if you want 7oz, you're going to have restrain yourself when filling your cup.
    This kind of misses the forest for the trees, but in a way I feel deserves a response anyway because you have to have trees to make a forest.

    I can't really find fault with your thoughts on the burgers specifically (I feel like the burgers aren't quite 1950s level but nothing to back that up), but I can suggest that the size of the patty is only one option. Some burgers have pickles, for example--what if we got rid of those?

    I also strongly object to the paternalism and am appalled at the idea of gleefully handing such authority to the government so as to forcibly control other people's diets. Educate and Train, not Mandate and Restrain. These are people, not cattle--though I understand how one could err there.
    This isn't being done for the consumers' sake, it's more to funnel money away from relative waste and into stuff it ought to be going to.

    Sorry for the delay, actually had to think about this, hah.
    If I'm so wonderful then why am I so misunderstood?
    Everybody has a reason for it except me

    -Mindless Self Indulgence

    When one's life is in your hands, you become their god.
    -One of the villains from the Abraxas Wren series.

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