If You Believe Free Markets Make Us Fatter, There Is Only One Solution

Helen  Raleigh
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Posted: Oct 30, 2015 1:25 PM
If You Believe Free Markets Make Us Fatter, There Is Only One Solution

George Akerlof and Robert Shiller co-authored an Op-ed for the Washington Post last Sunday, October 25th, titled "How free markets make us fatter, poorer and less happy." Their basic thesis was that free markets, driven by profit motives, constantly tempt us to make poor decision. They believe "a grownup’s view of the economy that incorporates the downsides of capitalism is a prerequisite for sane policy." Mr. Akerlof and Mr. Shiller are renowned economists: Mr. Akerlof teaches at Georgetown University; Mr. Shiller is a Nobel laureate and teaches at Yale University. When wise men such as them criticize free market, many people will no doubt heed their advice. But I don't think the professors went far enough. I have a perfect solution to cure all the ills of free markets: let's embrace socialism.

I have the first-hand experiences since I grew up in Mao's China. No one I knew ever struggled with an obesity problem. Under Chairman Mao's austere food rationing system, the amount of rice and cooking oil each person could have every month was strictly allocated so no one had to worry about getting fat. Our dear leaders made sure that 30 million Chinese people died of starvation, but none from obesity.

We never had to deal with the temptation for impulsive shopping either. Everything we bought we had to present a government issued coupon. Unlike American coupons, the Chinese coupon wasn't for saving money but for suppressing demand. I never encountered an evil store employee who, driven by sheer profit motive, tried to tempt me with any candy. As a matter of fact, store employees most times had nothing to do because the shelves in stores were so empty that there was nothing to purchase even with government issued coupons.

Since too many choices is obviously an undeniable problem, our dear leader wisely ensured that we always had very limited choices. All men had the same haircut. No women wore make up. Everyone-men, women and children, wore one of three colors: blue, gray or black cotton that faded after frequent washing. The entire nation of 1 billion people listened to one radio station and watched programs from one TV station.

Numerous reeducation camps across the nation not only ensured Chinese people had plenty of physical exercise, but also guaranteed any "bad" thoughts would be nipped in the bud. We went to bed content with what we had and felt sorry for people living in the West, because our government told us they were much worse off than we were. My mom used to tell me all the time to clean up my rice bowl because kids in America were starving.

Based on Mr. Akerlof and Mr. Shiller's thesis, I say let's all vote for Bernie Sanders to be the next President of the United States of America. It is time we have our own version of Hugo Chavez. See what a wonderful life people in Venezuela are enjoying. May socialism finally save America from the evils of free market.