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The National Theatre has just revived Harley Granville Barker’s play, Waste, about public and private morality in politics. The action turns on a Bill to disestablish the Church of England and divert the church’s assets to educational purposes.
Food insecurity is a global tragedy. More than 10% of humanity, almost 800 million people, are undernourished. Even in a relatively high-income country like the UK, almost 25% of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion and over a million people have been helped by Trussel Trust food banks.
Advocates of GM lean heavily on the claim that GM is ‘science’. But this is itself a highly dubious assumption. GM is essentially a technology. It is more like engineering than science.
We tend to argue at length about issues we encounter every day, whilst we make quick decisions about far-reaching issues of which we have limited understanding, such as climate change, or food security.
Food products criss-cross around the world every day, carrying with them embedded water, carbon, energy and sweat (figuratively if not literally, in the effort put in by farmers, growers and manufacturers to bring the product to market).
The issues surrounding energy are now well understood. We have growing needs yet realise that our historical energy sources are not as cheap – or abundant – as first appeared. This has lead to a re-pricing of energy and the development of new technologies, including for energy preservation and storage.
A poor diet fostered by a rapid increase in the supply of affordable, processed food has been widely blamed as one of the major contributors to obesity. Associated to increases in affordability are the promotions used by retailers with such foods.
Sugar is the new tobacco, and the battle lines are sharpening around Jamie Oliver’s campaign for a sugar tax to be the centrepiece of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, due out in the New Year.
Food is a vital part of human well-being and flourishing. Over the course of the next week ResPublica will be running a blog week on establishing good food practices for all in society.
The human need for regular rest is an inconvenient truth for capitalism. It would be easier if we could simplify the world into a liberal paradigm, allowing rational agents and perfect markets to efficiently distribute our natural resources, our relationships, and even our sleep.
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