In “A Public Option for Food” Nathan Robinson argues that it would be a good idea to have a government run, non-profit diner that served healthy meals. Why? Because we have a serious problem with obesity that is, at root, caused and created by for-profit food companies. The case for the prosecution:
“Companies don’t just aggregate consumer preferences and try to satisfy those preferences. They also try to shape those preferences through expensive scientific research. Consider the Cheeto. The Cheeto is specifically designed to trick the human body through its “vanishing caloric density,” which means that “if something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.” People do not just eat piles of Cheetos because they are “dangerously cheesy,” or because Chester Cheetah told them to. They eat piles of Cheetos because Kraft Foods consciously took advantage of an error in the way the human brain decides whether to keep eating something.”
This, he argues, is one of the many things wrong with the “consumer choice completely determines the market” argument.
UPDATE: Slate Star Codex posted a brilliant response to the linked article. It’s excellent food for the mind, combining thoughtful political philosophy with useful information about where and how US culture goes wrong nutritionally.