It is a mystery to me how one should be able to make any money at all with the product discussed in the below clip -- it just tastes awful. By contrast, milk is one of my favourite drinks. Also, the best energy drink I know is mate tea. Or a drop of vodka. But only a drop.
Mind you, Austria can be a funny place: you arrive at your ski resort, happy to take a breather, on the drinks menu you are being offered a fancy sounding drink which consists of whiskey and Red Bull. You order the oddity and are promptly served a glass of whiskey and a can of the energy drink. So you open the can and pour it into the whiskey. When you get to sip the drink and dreamily study the inscription on the can, you learn that it is illegal to mix the energy drink with alcohol. Which is oddly constricting, as the drink is only drinkable when heavily diluted with whiskey. In the meantime, you are left to reason - since it is me who has committed the mixing act, I suppose, the restaurant proprietor is off the hook, and full legal responsibility rests with the hapless foreigner.
I could talk for hours on the masochism of being a German spending a holiday in Austria.
As for the below opinion, while I regret the language used in certain passages and doubt the gentleman's economic literacy, I am impressed with the show of character and share with him a robust dislike of the beverage.
Liberty is a great method to further and lift to success the wisdom that is randomly available among humankind, and a means to reduce to a minimum the society-wide contagion of the errors to which we all are so prone.
High-yield agriculture and long-distance trade have long delivered a similar outcome—more abundant and affordable food with reduced environmental impact—on a global scale…. So prepare your meal from the most affordable food you can find to do both your wallet and the planet a favor.
As the Marxist theorist Karl Kautsky observed in 1899 in his classic On the Agrarian Question,
As long as any rural economy is self-sufficient it has to produce everything which it needs, irrespective of whether the soil is suitable or not. Grain has to be cultivated on infertile, stony and steeply sloping ground as well as on rich soils.
In time though, the development of better production areas such as the Canadian Prairies removed the need to keep producing grain on poorer soils, “and where circumstances were favorable it was taken off the land and replaced by other types of agricultural production” such as orchards, beef cattle, and dairy cows. Exporting food items from production locations where water was abundant to consumers living in regions where it wasn’t similarly removed the need to drain surface waters and aquifers in many drier parts of the world. [...]
Unfortunately, in our carbon emissions-obsessed era, local food activists (or locavores) have embraced the notion of “food miles,” or the distance food items travel from farms to consumers, as the be all and end all of the environmental impact of agricultural production. As has been repeatedly and rigorously documented in numerous life cycle assessment (LCA) studies, however, the distance traveled by food is a worthless indicator of sustainable development.
Among other issues, producing food typically requires (much) more energy than moving it around, especially when significant amounts of heating and/or cold-protection technologies, irrigation water, fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs are required to grow things in one region, but not in another. Reducing food miles typically means a greater environmental footprint given the use of additional resources in less desirable locations.
Another issue is that the distance travelled by food matters less than the mode of transportation. For instance, shipping food halfway around the world on a container ship often has a smaller footprint per item carried than a short trip by car to a grocery store to buy a small quantity of these items. [...]
Advances in transportation and conservation technologies have also historically increased the importation of perishable food items produced at different latitudes and decreased local food production and storage, in the process delivering greater freshness, lower costs, and reduced energy consumption.
Importing New Zealand apples in the northern hemisphere in April rather than preserving local apples picked in September in cold storage for several months, for example, has advantages. Not only is freshness improved, spoilage is reduced. And storage costs, mainly the need to maintain higher than normal CO2 concentrations, lower than ambient temperatures to inhibit spoilage, or higher than ambient temperatures to prevent freezing, are avoided.
While agricultural markets are not perfect, due to numerous subsidies and barriers to trade, market prices factor in the environmental impact of food production by including the additional costs from less desirable production locals.
Acting precautiously is not the same as ensuring risklessness. Put differently, precaution depends on a sense of proportion, a sensible trade-off between cost and remaining risk. In political debate one often hears of the "precautionary principle", but rarely is the reference accompanied by a clear and sensible account of the cost-benefit relations attending the "precaution" in question. Often one ends up with a lot of pre(-payment) and little caution in the way of what one is paying for.
Of course, calls for unspecified or all-out "precaution" are an indispensable part of the statist's toolbox.
Next time you hear of the "precautionary principle" or "Earth day" remember what Edward Calabrese has to say below:
The first Earth Day, in 1970, was celebrated after a wave of environmentalism swept the nation. Many give credit to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which popularized the notion of large-scale chemical pollution, for igniting the movement.
But she was really feeding off of a concept developed a few years earlier. The “precautionary principle” was conceptualized when the National Academy of Sciences proposed a radical change in the risk assessment of exposure to radiation and carcinogens. It recommended changing the regulatory paradigm from a “threshold dose” model to a linear one.
The threshold paradigm was what one might call common sense. It held that humans could tolerate small doses of things that, in larger doses, could be harmful.
Sunlight is a perfect example. Low doses are actually required for survival, as ultraviolet radiation — the same general type that causes sunburn — catalyzes the formation of Vitamin D. But, as is obvious to anyone who lives in a sun-drenched area, excessive exposure can lead to death in the near term (from dehydration) or the longer term (from skin cancer).
The “linear model” assumes that just a single molecule of a carcinogen or a single ionization from an X-ray can induce cancer. The enthusiasm spawned by Earth Day soon gave us brand new regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The EPA routinely applies the linear model to carcinogens.
“Environmental regulations based on the “linear model” are having a negative impact, not only on societal costs, but on our health as well.”
The linear model is a case study in the unintended consequences of the desire to do good. In this case, an ideologically driven scientist, Nobel Prize laureate Herman Muller, whose research formed the basis for EPA’s model, led the charge. A very powerful figure in health physics, he is now known to have marginalized and obstructed the publication of any research that provided evidence counter to the linear model.
If that sounds like the way senior climate scientists were found to behave in the famous 2009 “Climate-gate” emails, it should.
The regulatory agencies fell in line, as did a compliant scientific community and a media that was afraid to dig deeper. Every country followed the U.S.’ lead.
The linear model is rigid, absolute and wrong. We now know that there are so many flaws or holes in the linear dose response model that it looks more like Swiss cheese. The resulting environmental regulations are having a negative impact, not only on societal costs, but on our health as well.
Blame Texas, because the solution to your wonderful, amazing new law pricing people out of being able to afford health insurance is obviously to take what were previously self-supporting citizens and put them on the dole?
If I were the man to whom Marie up there was talking to, my response to his passing of the buck to the State of Texas would be “I don’t want to BE on the dole! I was paying my own way – I was HAPPILY paying my own way – until you came along and fXXXXXX my chances of being able to do so all to hell with your misnamed “affordable” healthcare act, and now your solution to having destroyed my ability to pay my own way and be a net contributor to our society is to put me on the dole? To strip me of my dignity and make me a parasite? THAT is your grand solution, you fXXXXXXX self-worshipping neophyte!?”
Then, of all things, suggest that the man cancel his telephone service so that he might be able to afford your new, improved, insanely expensive healthcare plans? If that isn’t the “let them eat cake” moment of the 21st century, I don’t know what is. Good [...] lord, man, I am absolutely at a loss. How did this man even learn how to potty train, much less manage to elevate himself to the most powerful position in the free world?
As if it is Marie’s place, or any person in the government’s place to dictate priorities in bill payment to private citizens – to have health insurance or to be able to communicate with people (possibly a pre-requisite for the man’s job, to begin with).
This man is absolutely convinced that he has life figured out for everyone else; that no one's life deviates from his narrow views of what life should be one iota. No wonder socialism always fails - you get men like this in charge, who have these myopic, one size fits all views about life, and can't for the life of him figure out why anyone would want to live a life different from the one he proscribes.
Taking the Constitution seriously is not a trivial exercise. Randy Barnett is one of the best sources for insight and orientation concerning fundamental issues of US law and the constitution.
Apart from the constitutionality of Obamacare, Randy Barnett covers a whole range of interesting issues in the below interview. Of particular note I find his contention toward the end of the video that the abolitionists were the precursors of modern libertarians.
Theodore Dalrymple spent a large part of his life in prison, as a doctor. He and his most charming wife were the first people I met when I arrived at Bodrum, Turkey, in September 2012. Norman Stone (the historian of the World Wars) and the three of us spent the most genial, warm summer evening together.
Below is the speech Dalrymple gave at the Bodrum conference, with me sitting invisibly in the front row.
In his concluding remarks on the "horrible existential trap," "this hopeless and fearless limbo" which the British welfare state has proved to be for many, Dalrymple, a psychiatrist, argues: "the abolition of the fear of want has disastrous psychological consequences."
"What then are the results of the abolition of fear and with it hope? The choices that are available to people in this situation are of little consequence, even to them. They don't care even what they eat or how they dress. And carelessness and lack of discrimination become general. For such as live in these circumstances there is no higher, no lower, no provident, no improvident, no wise and no foolish. Even curiosity is driven out. For why be curious in a world in which there are no consequences in what you do. So choice ... means little more than the fulfilment of the whim of the moment [...]
When Milton's satan says "all good to me is lost; evil, be thou my good," he expresses something that has actually come to pass. In a situation in which nothing makes much difference to one's material condition, the vacuum in meaning is filled by sensation and excitement, which is more easily procured by bad behaviour than by good. Social pathology then abounds, for it creates an interest in existence that would otherwise be lacking. At least their bad behaviour and social pathology create crises that lend a savour to existence... [without which bad behaviour] existence would be stale, flat, and unprofitable.
"... the abolition of raw want certainly does not lead to a civilized existence...On the contrary, it leads to a kind of fatalism without contentment; a fatalism without acceptance of one's fate...and a listless resentment...[Man] needs the spur of fear as well as of hope to make him flourish and behave well. For where fear is removed virtue does not flourish."
While munching away on my paleo-dietary carrot, I enjoyed watching the enlightening presentation below; all the more as the paleo diet happens to work wonderfully with me - apparently, however, for reasons other than the ones I used to believe in. Truth to tell, I never dug too deeply into the scientific side of it. I was just happy to get rid of the heartburn, slim down to a comfortable weight within a fortnight, and just generally feel better. It' s pretty likely that I suffer from pronounced grain intolerance and if I leave the alcohol (pastis and beer) out as well and add exercise into the mix (as I tend to during summer), I begin to "paleo-"flourish in no time. Though, I do miss the bread (salami sandwich etc.) terribly.
Tomorrow (15 minutes left not to be lying), I expect delivery of Richard Epstein's magisterial "The Classical Liberal Constitution" which will be one of the tomes that I shall engross myself in over the next half year to gain a deeper understanding of the nexus of law and liberty.
In his latest book, a wide-ranging tome covering vast areas of our law, Richard Epstein mounts a principled attack on modern Supreme Court jurisprudence and much of the legal scholarship that has grown up around it. The major disarray that infects every area of modern American life, he argues, from deficits and debt to health care, financial services, declining standards of living and more, could not have happened under the original constitutional structure, faithfully interpreted in light of changed circumstances. It arose from a profound progressive break with the classical liberal tradition that guided the drafting and interpretation of the Constitution.