Sunday Dec 01, 2019
Sunday Dec 01, 2019
Sunday Dec 01, 2019
The United States is suffering from what some would call an epidemic: food scarcity. One of the most influential countries in the world can barely feed its own people. In this podcast we discuss food insecurity, food deserts, and what it means to feed a family in America today. Have you ever thought about where your food comes from?
This episode was created by Erin Geraghty.
Kate: Hey everyone. Welcome to Oz-onomics, a podcast created for and by students in introductory economics classes at SUNY Oswego.
GABRIELLA: In this series, we'll have discussions about various economic principles and how they apply to our day to day lives.
KATE: Are you ready?
GABRIELLA: Let's go.
ERIN: Are healthy Foods expensive? Or is that a giant excuse for not eating right? Are Americans just conveniently bypassing the produce department for frozen food aisles that are full preservatives? Did you Know It costs around $500 to join a gym in a year? Let's talk about that. As a college student, it was almost expected of me to gain 15 to 20 pounds in my freshman year. However, I did not, because I found healthy alternatives that SUNY Oswego provided for me. For the average college student, let alone American, this is not always the case. Not every person in the United States knows where their food will be coming from for every dinner, assuming they even eat every night. Some Americans have to decide if going hungry for a day or two is worth keeping their heat on or paying rent on time. We've all heard the classic trope of the poor college student who needs to eat ramen for every meal because they can't afford spinach. But why is that? How come in one of the most powerful countries in the world people are suffering because they cannot afford food. Some neighborhoods only have their local McDonald's or Burger King to provide sustenance. Have you ever heard of a food desert? Okay, so a food desert is an urban area in which difficult to buy affordable or good quality fresh produce or food. Our supply and demand graph is not made up of beef farmers and millionaires. It's made up of cheap food and single mothers who have four children. Sometimes that 4 for 20 deal, it's just too good to pass up. And in this case, mom goes to bed hungry. We'd like to think that humans are rational and they think rationally and the rational thought would be eat because dying of starvation will effectively ruin any chances of paying attention a phone bill on time. Again, we'd like to think that. Behavioral economics knows that humans are not simple and will not abide by a simple supply and demand graph. People are inherently irrational and when it comes to economics, they think with their hearts and sometimes that goes against economic thinking. Say there's this girl and her name is Jane. She has $10 and she can buy one dozen donuts from Dunkin' Donuts or she can make the healthier decision to buy about two or two and a half bunches of asparagus. Jane's opportunity cost of spending all her money on asparagus will be that she's not full as soon. So, this will result in her eating more and more of her bunches of unseasoned asparagus. Her opportunity cost of spending all of her money on donuts is losing out on vital vitamins and nutrients that will keep her healthy. The cost effective choice is obviously not the healthy one. In addition, Jane buying a dozen donuts honestly tastes better. Who wakes up every day and thinks "Yes, I want to eat four stems of asparagus that will keep me happy and healthy all day." No one. Jane could easily walk into her local Dunkin' Donuts in order two jellies, a Boston cream, chocolate glazed cake and so on and so on and eat these for days and days in a row without ever getting bored. It's time for a change in America. In order to get pretty fresh and appetizing produce the produce must be hand harvested, and this adds to the final price of the product. This is why the term food desert is growing every day and becoming part of the American reality. Have you ever seen this documentary Supersize Me? It's about a guy named Morgan Spurlock. He ate only McDonald's three times a day breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 days to see the effects on American citizens. He was able to spend less than $15 a day and still double the recommended calorie count every day. Imagine that... spending 15 to 20 bucks a day and getting completely full. He gained 24 pounds increased his body mass by 13% and increased his cholesterol to 230 milligrams. It took him over nine months to lose the weight on a strict vegan diet and rigorous workout routine. Economically, this makes complete sense. It's completely rational. But health wise, it's obviously not. In my opinion, I think the United States needs to implement a sugar tax much like our neighbors across the pond. In the UK and many other areas of Europe, you can't just buy a plain Pepsi without a substantial tax tacked on and then making the product much more expensive. This would force non-essential foods to be less available to the average person. In order to stay in business, supermarkets should then lower their healthier foods and offer rebates to their produce providers to give them more healthy foods and larger quantities. I mean, I'm vegetarian, and I have a really, really hard time trying to buy food for myself because I don't eat red meat or I don't eat chicken. And for some reason broccoli is $20 and I could just go get a burger that's pumped full of hormones and a cow that's been unjustly killed just to feed a person that they've never met. Why am I being punished for wanting to live a healthier... a humane lifestyle? Why does Oswego have three Dunkin Donuts I will never understand. But children who get a free lunch at school are honestly getting more vitamins than their parents on an average work day.
MICHAEL: There you have a folks on another edition of Oz-onomics, where economics becomes easier for Oswego students to understand where you get your money that you pay for your tuition worth. If you feel like being ahead of the curve, grab a seat, grab your phone, shift your fingers left and right. And download Oz-onomics on the podcast app. See you later.
The introduction to this podcast was provided by Kate Soanes and Gabriella Schaff. Michael Kolawale provided the outro. Music by Lobo Loco.