#MorganFoundation errors about @nzinitiative’s Health of the State – part 1

The Greens have joined that Morgan Foundation in playing the man rather than the ball on the recently published report of the New Zealand Initiative on sin taxes.  Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said:

The New Zealand Initiative cares more about junk-food barons’ bottom lines than it cares about Kiwis who are getting sick and dying because of obesity-related illnesses

The Morgan Foundation was just as keen to argue that their opponents on sin taxes are both ignorant and steeped in moral turpitude as a way of avoiding substantive argument:

The New Zealand Initiative are not interested in reducing obesity, or preventing the looming diabetes crisis where 1 in 3 Kiwis will have the disease. They make no attempt to understand the causes, and don’t propose any way to deal with these issues…

Is there no room for honest disagreement and different views on the ability of further government intervention to be a net benefit? As Aaron Director said:

Laissez-faire is no more than a slogan in defence of the proposition that every extension of state activity should be examined under the presumption of error.

One of the specific claims by the Morgan Foundation that seems to be in error is:

In fact, the report seems devoid of any research outside a narrow economic focus. The food industry has funded an enormous amount of psychological research on how to influence people to eat more junk food through packaging, advertising, product placement etc, much of which is publicly available, but which the New Zealand Institute has roundly ignored. Ironic, given that they funded by the same organisations that funded this psychological research.

The Food industry’s own research shows our choices are hugely influenced by the environment that surrounds us, but the New Zealand Institute conveniently prefers to cling to the oversimplification that we are all rational economic units – known as homo economicus.

The report of the New Zealand Initiative has a nice discussion of the limitations of rationality which did not weigh as heavily as it should in the critique by the Morgan Foundation part of which is in the snapshot below:

image

Source: Jenesa Jeram, The Health of the State, The New Zealand Initiative ( April 2016, p.10).

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eric Crampton
    Apr 22, 2016 @ 14:12:07

    I had seen their press release before, Jim, but I hadn’t seen this. I had figured it was just Hague having a rant. These guys are unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Jim Rose
      Apr 22, 2016 @ 15:51:27

      There is such a lack of generosity in spirit – both the Greens and the Morgan Foundation.

      I honestly disagree with them. They honestly disagree with me and what they are trying to do is out of a genuine concern for helping others.

      No one pays me to say what I say and I am far too stubborn in spirit to be paid to say anything I do not believe in.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

    • Jim Rose
      Apr 22, 2016 @ 17:02:15

      Hague has got more and more grumpy ever since he lost the leadership of the Greens. He has blocked me on Twitter.

      Like

      Reply

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