Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

Saltshaker, a fellow food blogger residing in Buenos Aires, has led me to reacquaint with Accidental Hedonist. It is an informative food blog for those who are not only interested in cooking but food related issues. It makes fascinating and educational reading.

A linked article provided by Accidental Hedonist on the success of a trans fats ban in Denmark has caused me to think more deeply about human behaviour and how it varies from country to country. There are places where inhabitants are thankful for government intervention on behalf of their well being; they actually appreciate living in a cleaner, safer or healthier society albeit having to follow rules. Of course, these are also places where the governments follow through with their regulations.

In any case, everyone gains from banning trans fats except soulless food corporations which look after their EBITDA (Earnings before Interests, Taxes, Depreciation & Amortisation) rather than the long-term health of their consumers.

The libertine in me and you may say we are free to do harm or good to ourselves as we choose to. Indeed, many in this city use this very same argument as their justification for not wearing a seat-belt or driving recklessly. These individuals may not care if they live or die. Unfortunately, when these single minded daredevils do get their death wish, they may not only hurt others who are actually involved in their car wreck but tens of thousands of completely innocent people who have normal lives.

They may say if they don't care to live, let them but think about the strain their injuries, out of their own choice, would put on resources of our public health system which is already in a pitiful state. How about those innocent ones who need public medical care to live because they want to?

How about a higher rate of injury and mortality in motor accidents jacking up the insurance premium for the vehicle owners who choose to live? Let's not forget we are talking about one's ability to control a piece of machinery capable of harming others which is why we have driver's test, eye sight test, third party insurance cover, etc.
Driving is a right that should not be taken lightly by anyone; it comes with a set of responsibilities so please do not glamourise selfishness and irresponsible attutide as liberty. If we choose not to take on the responsibilities, we are all at liberty to walk.
Anyway, this is another story with a very different set of implications than trans fats in our cookies and margarine. Nonetheless, it is thought provoking...

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