Diets and Anarchism

There’s a great post up at Shapely Prose about unrestricted eating. It resonated with me, though not so much about the eating.

The point is about the meaning of ‘unrestricted’. People who Restrict their eating with a capital R, i.e. diet, sometimes seem to think as if were they, or anyone else, not to diet, their eating would be entirely unrestricted, and they’d binge constantly.

Whereas in fact, people not on diets – people even without any ‘dieting-consciousness’, any habit of thinking ‘oh no I shouldn’t‘, eat a perfectly mundane amount. They see things that they’d like to eat, but for various reasons don’t eat them – like, they’re full, or it would be inconvenient, or they’re busy, or they are going to eat something else soon, etc.They can, as the author, Fillyjonk, puts it, think about eating something, without eating it – they can afford to “decriminalize [their] thoughts about food”.

But dieting-consciousness can lead people to associate the lack of Restriction (diets) with the lack of restriction (not doing absolutely everything that crosses your mind). As commenter Ailbhe says, “People Can Be Trusted To Look After Themselves Given Half A Chance – Nation In Shock”.

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What to Do About Government Debt

My last post queried why the capitalist overlords who control most of the economy weren’t publishing a budget to persuade people to keep them in charge. I want to illustrate the oddness of the economic system that results from this by considering a particular issue.

This is an issue that is much worrying the Conservatives at the moment: government debt. The government has huge levels of debt because it’s spending so much more than it can bring in.

You don’t have to be a conservative to see that this is a problem. For the economy to work, the right numbers have to equal the right other numbers. But what would be a sensible response to this?

If I or any organisation I was a part of found that we were in some sense ‘over-spending’, our obvious response would be to prioritise: to ask what things we can stop devoting resources to, what things we need to keep devoting resources to, as well as of course how to avoid waste.

If we found that we were spending resources on something relatively unimportant while vitally important problems were left waiting, we’d be embarassed and shift the resources. And we certainly wouldn’t shift resources away from a vital area while leaving resource flows to less vital areas untrimmed.

Now this is of course what the government is trying to do; to making spending cuts of some kind, whether that’s public spending cuts or cuts in private spending (i.e. taxation). But the rest of our economy is not rationalising in this way – or when it is, it does so in a counter-productive way because it looks at matters only from a sectional point of view (e.g. laying off ‘superfluous’ workers so they can enjoy the dole queues).

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