First, Sue Kedgeley. Specifically, her obsession with what kids eat. TechCentralStation reports on
a new [American] study arrived which once again (See Kicking the Can, 7/8/05) suggests that it is not pop, but lack of exercise and family poverty that are driving up rates of childhood obesity. The study, from two researchers at the University of Alberta looked at the health, nutrition and lifestyle factors of 4,298 fifth grade school children in an effort to determine which risk factors were most important for overweight children.Do you think Sue will stop her obsession with school vending machines? Yeah, right.
Unlike so many studies that rely on estimates of height and weight -- estimates which always lead to an overestimate of both overweight and obesity -- the study actually took measurements of the kids' height and weight, as well as assessing their dietary habits including whether they ate breakfast, whether their lunch came from home or was purchased at school, whether they ate in fast food restaurants, whether there were regular family suppers, and whether supper was eaten in front of the television.
The results are startling, for they disprove so much of the contemporary "wisdom" that appears to be driving America toward a series of completely ineffective obesity policies... [Read on here]
How about challenging another sacred cow: recycling. The Mises Blog has the argument:
Oh, I used to believe in recycling, and I still believe in the other two Rs: reducing and reusing. But recycling? It's a waste of time, money, and ever scarce resources. What John Tierney wrote in the New York Times nearly 10 years ago is still true: "Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America."How does the author know recycling is wasteful? Simple:
I know that the costs of recycling exceed the benefits. This is the simple result of the observation that recycling doesn't return a financial profit...So there you go. As always, PJ O'Rourke said it better:
What's wrong with recycling? The answer is simple; it doesn't pay. And since it doesn't pay it is an inefficient use of the time, money, and scarce resources. That's right, as Mises would have argued: let prices be your guide. Prices are essential to evaluate actions ex post. If the accounting of a near past event reveals a financial loss, the activity was a waste of both the entrepreneur's and society's scarce resources. [Read on here]
I have a friend, Jerry Taylor, who is the director of natural resource studies at the Cato Institute... Jerry pointed out that when used items -- Ferraris, for instance -- have real value they don't need to be "recycled", they get sold. "If recycling is so great," said Jerry, how come no private individual will pay you to do it?"