A Food lobbyist could be deciding what goes on your dinner plate right this minute.
With the power of money, corporations and individuals can lobby our Government to impose taxes, laws, regulations, subsidies, bailouts, and special contracts that make specific products winners, and other products losers. Through what will be explained below, you will get the idea of how a lobbyist could be deciding what’s on your plate and how much it costs.
Food lobbying, or more generally, lobbying, is a form of petitioning the Government that corporations and others use. This petitioning often results in billions of dollars being spent in efforts to place a specific companies interests ahead of others in the mind of the person being lobbied.
And the use of “billions” is not exaggeration. Just for the year 2010, lobbying totaled over $3,500,000,000; yes, that is 3.5 billion dollars (Source).
And in 2011, lobbying costs come out to around 2.5 billion dollars, with over 12,000 lobbyists petitioning our congressmen for favors (Source).
Normally, lobbying as a form of petitioning the Government would fall under the first amendment, and the right to have your needs and wants shown, respected, and talked about, is a fair one. But what has occurred today is the enlargement of Government, and thus, its intervention in markets and industries never meant to be disturbed. Lobbying has grown alongside Government, making the consequences of it more transparent. The President now has over 14 cabinets, all built specifically to interfere in industry, markets, and a normal way of life, for the general security of all those involved, a lobbying heaven.
The entire reason food lobbying has become such a big issue in the diet and fitness industry, and an issue in the general scope of serious problems, and has become such a powerful tool for corporations and the like, is because someone is out there putting out the demand. The market is satisfying a demand put out by Government, albeit a demand that the public would rather not be there.
Corporations lobby for bills that increase Government power and regulation abilities, so that the Government can then have the power to return the favor with increased taxes, regulations, subsidies, and buddy-contracts. It has distorted the market and most definitely caused an artificial system where Government and big business pick the winners and losers in industry. This was perfectly exemplified with the financial bailouts of 2008.
The solution to this problem that many preach involves more laws. Some want more Government regulation in the industry, or even want lobbying made illegal, but this would only push the industry more underground than it already is. Most people have no idea what’s going on right now, and it’s on the record, can you imagine what would happen if it were all off the record?
The only realistic solution here is to remove that option and demand. If there is no demand, there is usually no supply. If Government isn’t big enough to give special favors out in every industry, corporations can’t lobby for those favors, and they have to compete, especially with small businesses willing to satisfy niche markets and focus on innovation.
The hundreds of millions of dollars the agriculture and pharmaceutical industries spend on lobbying isn’t going to just disappear because congress passes a law, it can only lose its effect. This applies to the other industries as well.
And that happens through small Government. In the diet industry, superior trends, such as Paleo and Primal, cannot advance beyond a certain level in the market because of all these different variables Government has introduced, and that’s something we talked about HERE. This exact situation occurs with innovative products, and successful small businesses.
The consequences of allowing Government and food lobbyists to intervene more in the health industry can already be seen. We have nutrition education programs being started by companies that own predominantly grain-based foods, we have regulations and harsh laws that punish organic foods and result in full out raids on small farms, we have Government growing fond of dictating what people eat, and what they don’t eat, and we have the continued growth of all of this, despite the regulation and “solutions.”
If we truly wish to have control over what we eat, and you truly wish the people to have control over the market, the market must be freed, and we must be freed. The best regulator of industry is the free market, becuase it is the people’s decision on a product that decides whether it wins or loses, and that is the driving force behind innovation and technological advancement, and that should be the driver of trends, not lobbying.