Vegetarian Discussion: The Myth Of Food Production "efficiency" In The "ar" Debate

The Myth Of Food Production "efficiency" In The "ar" Debate
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Fred C. Dobbs
2010-05-14 15:40:28 EST

The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
livestock.

In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
there must be agreement on what the end product is
whose efficiency of production you are examining. If
you're looking at the production of consumer
electronics, for example, then the output is
televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
Rather obviously, you need to get specific. No
sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
discontinue the production of television sets, because
they require more resources to produce (which they do),
and produce more DVD players instead. (For the
cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
television set is going to cost several hundred
dollars. $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)

What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
"inefficiency"? They're clearly saying that the end
product whose efficiency of production we want to
consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
calories. Just as clearly, they are wrong. Humans
don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
substitutable. As in debunking so much of "veganism",
we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
than others.

But how do "vegans" actually behave? Why, they buy
some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
relatively resource-INefficient. You know this by
looking at retail prices: higher priced goods ARE
higher priced because they use more resources to
produce. If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
production efficiency, they would only be buying the
absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
nutritional requirement. This would necessarily mean
there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.

If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
one brand). The same would hold for every conceivable
garment. A button-front shirt with collars costs more
to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
don't "need" meat. But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
(all natural fiber, of course.) "vegans" aren't
advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.

The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
then see if that product can be produced using fewer
resources. It is important to note that the consumer's
view of products as distinct things is crucial. A
radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
devices.

The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
of calories and other nutritional requirements. Once
one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
"vegans" themselves, views food, then the
"inefficiency" argument against using resources for
meat production falls to the ground.

I hope this helps.


Rupert
2010-05-14 16:06:44 EST
On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
> livestock.
>
> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
> there must be agreement on what the end product is
> whose efficiency of production you are examining.  If
> you're looking at the production of consumer
> electronics, for example, then the output is
> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
> Rather obviously, you need to get specific.  No
> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
> discontinue the production of television sets, because
> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
> and produce more DVD players instead.  (For the
> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
> television set is going to cost several hundred
> dollars.  $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>
> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
> "inefficiency"?  They're clearly saying that the end
> product whose efficiency of production we want to
> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
> calories.  Just as clearly, they are wrong.  Humans
> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
> substitutable.  As in debunking so much of "veganism",
> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
> than others.
>
> But how do "vegans" actually behave?  Why, they buy
> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
> relatively resource-INefficient.  You know this by
> looking at retail prices:  higher priced goods ARE
> higher priced because they use more resources to
> produce.  If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
> nutritional requirement.  This would necessarily mean
> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>
> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
> one brand).  The same would hold for every conceivable
> garment.  A button-front shirt with collars costs more
> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
> don't "need" meat.  But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
> (all natural fiber, of course.)  "vegans" aren't
> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>
> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
> resources.  It is important to note that the consumer's
> view of products as distinct things is crucial.  A
> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
> devices.
>
> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
> of calories and other nutritional requirements.  Once
> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
> meat production falls to the ground.
>
> I hope this helps.

What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
footprint. That's the claim, and it's true, and some people reasonably
see it as a good reason for going vegan.

I hope this helps.

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-05-14 16:15:02 EST
On 5/14/2010 1:06 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
>> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
>> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
>> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
>> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
>> livestock.
>>
>> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
>> there must be agreement on what the end product is
>> whose efficiency of production you are examining. If
>> you're looking at the production of consumer
>> electronics, for example, then the output is
>> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
>> Rather obviously, you need to get specific. No
>> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
>> discontinue the production of television sets, because
>> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
>> and produce more DVD players instead. (For the
>> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
>> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
>> television set is going to cost several hundred
>> dollars. $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
>> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
>> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
>> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>>
>> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
>> "inefficiency"? They're clearly saying that the end
>> product whose efficiency of production we want to
>> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
>> calories. Just as clearly, they are wrong. Humans
>> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
>> substitutable. As in debunking so much of "veganism",
>> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
>> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
>> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
>> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
>> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
>> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
>> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
>> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
>> than others.
>>
>> But how do "vegans" actually behave? Why, they buy
>> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
>> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
>> relatively resource-INefficient. You know this by
>> looking at retail prices: higher priced goods ARE
>> higher priced because they use more resources to
>> produce. If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
>> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
>> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
>> nutritional requirement. This would necessarily mean
>> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
>> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>>
>> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
>> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
>> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
>> one brand). The same would hold for every conceivable
>> garment. A button-front shirt with collars costs more
>> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
>> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
>> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
>> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
>> don't "need" meat. But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
>> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
>> (all natural fiber, of course.) "vegans" aren't
>> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
>> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>>
>> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
>> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
>> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
>> resources. It is important to note that the consumer's
>> view of products as distinct things is crucial. A
>> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
>> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
>> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
>> devices.
>>
>> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
>> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
>> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
>> of calories and other nutritional requirements. Once
>> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
>> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
>> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
>> meat production falls to the ground.
>>
>> I hope this helps.
>
> What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
> intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
> is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
> footprint.

That's not what it's saying at all, as we already know.

--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Rupert
2010-05-14 16:16:46 EST
On May 15, 6:15 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 5/14/2010 1:06 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> > wrote:
> >> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
> >> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
> >> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
> >> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
> >> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
> >> livestock.
>
> >> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
> >> there must be agreement on what the end product is
> >> whose efficiency of production you are examining.  If
> >> you're looking at the production of consumer
> >> electronics, for example, then the output is
> >> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
> >> Rather obviously, you need to get specific.  No
> >> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
> >> discontinue the production of television sets, because
> >> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
> >> and produce more DVD players instead.  (For the
> >> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
> >> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
> >> television set is going to cost several hundred
> >> dollars.  $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
> >> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
> >> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
> >> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>
> >> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
> >> "inefficiency"?  They're clearly saying that the end
> >> product whose efficiency of production we want to
> >> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
> >> calories.  Just as clearly, they are wrong.  Humans
> >> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
> >> substitutable.  As in debunking so much of "veganism",
> >> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
> >> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
> >> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
> >> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
> >> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
> >> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
> >> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
> >> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
> >> than others.
>
> >> But how do "vegans" actually behave?  Why, they buy
> >> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
> >> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
> >> relatively resource-INefficient.  You know this by
> >> looking at retail prices:  higher priced goods ARE
> >> higher priced because they use more resources to
> >> produce.  If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
> >> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
> >> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
> >> nutritional requirement.  This would necessarily mean
> >> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
> >> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>
> >> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
> >> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
> >> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
> >> one brand).  The same would hold for every conceivable
> >> garment.  A button-front shirt with collars costs more
> >> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
> >> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
> >> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
> >> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
> >> don't "need" meat.  But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
> >> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
> >> (all natural fiber, of course.)  "vegans" aren't
> >> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
> >> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>
> >> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
> >> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
> >> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
> >> resources.  It is important to note that the consumer's
> >> view of products as distinct things is crucial.  A
> >> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
> >> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
> >> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
> >> devices.
>
> >> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
> >> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
> >> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
> >> of calories and other nutritional requirements.  Once
> >> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
> >> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
> >> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
> >> meat production falls to the ground.
>
> >> I hope this helps.
>
> > What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
> > intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
> > is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
> > footprint.
>
> That's not what it's saying at all, as we already know.
>

How do you know?

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-05-14 16:26:22 EST
On 5/14/2010 1:16 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On May 15, 6:15 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 5/14/2010 1:06 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>> On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>> wrote:
>>>> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
>>>> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
>>>> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
>>>> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
>>>> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
>>>> livestock.
>>
>>>> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
>>>> there must be agreement on what the end product is
>>>> whose efficiency of production you are examining. If
>>>> you're looking at the production of consumer
>>>> electronics, for example, then the output is
>>>> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
>>>> Rather obviously, you need to get specific. No
>>>> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
>>>> discontinue the production of television sets, because
>>>> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
>>>> and produce more DVD players instead. (For the
>>>> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
>>>> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
>>>> television set is going to cost several hundred
>>>> dollars. $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
>>>> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
>>>> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
>>>> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>>
>>>> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
>>>> "inefficiency"? They're clearly saying that the end
>>>> product whose efficiency of production we want to
>>>> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
>>>> calories. Just as clearly, they are wrong. Humans
>>>> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
>>>> substitutable. As in debunking so much of "veganism",
>>>> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
>>>> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
>>>> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
>>>> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
>>>> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
>>>> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
>>>> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
>>>> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
>>>> than others.
>>
>>>> But how do "vegans" actually behave? Why, they buy
>>>> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
>>>> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
>>>> relatively resource-INefficient. You know this by
>>>> looking at retail prices: higher priced goods ARE
>>>> higher priced because they use more resources to
>>>> produce. If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
>>>> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
>>>> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
>>>> nutritional requirement. This would necessarily mean
>>>> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
>>>> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>>
>>>> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
>>>> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
>>>> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
>>>> one brand). The same would hold for every conceivable
>>>> garment. A button-front shirt with collars costs more
>>>> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
>>>> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
>>>> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
>>>> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
>>>> don't "need" meat. But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
>>>> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
>>>> (all natural fiber, of course.) "vegans" aren't
>>>> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
>>>> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>>
>>>> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
>>>> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
>>>> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
>>>> resources. It is important to note that the consumer's
>>>> view of products as distinct things is crucial. A
>>>> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
>>>> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
>>>> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
>>>> devices.
>>
>>>> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
>>>> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
>>>> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
>>>> of calories and other nutritional requirements. Once
>>>> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
>>>> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
>>>> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
>>>> meat production falls to the ground.
>>
>>>> I hope this helps.
>>
>>> What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
>>> intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
>>> is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
>>> footprint.
>>
>> That's not what it's saying at all, as we already know.
>>
>
> How do you know?

I already explained it to you several times over the last couple of
years. The issue is *not* about environmental footprint, and you know
it. It's about a misconceived and ignorant belief regarding resource
allocation.


--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Dutch
2010-05-14 16:34:15 EST

"Rupert" <rupertmccallum@yahoo.com> wrote

What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
footprint. That's the claim, and it's true, and some people reasonably
see it as a good reason for going vegan.
------>

I would dispute all of the claims in that response.

Vegan diets are not just as tasty, not to me. Meat and dairy introduces
irreplaceable tastes and variety to any diet.

Vegan diets are not just as nutritious in many cases. I have personally
experienced failure to thrive on vegetarian diets and I know many people
have. There was a recent study to this effect posted to aaev, and the issue
is well documented at beyondveg.com.

Vegan diets are not always associated with a smaller environmental
footprint. They CAN BE, but Steven Davis's study, the Polyface Farm, and the
experience of many small farmers illustrate that it is quite possible to use
meat in a diet and have a small environmental footprint.

These claims should be modified and placed in context.

I also don't agree that veganism is reasonable, *vegetarianism* is
reasonable, veganism is extreme and unreasonable.

The vegan argument in reality is the AR argument, it is based on the notion
that it is *unjust* to use animals as products.






Fred C. Dobbs
2010-05-14 17:23:54 EST
On 5/14/2010 1:34 PM, Dutch wrote:
>
> "Rupert" <rupertmccallum@yahoo.com> wrote
>
> What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
> intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
> is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
> footprint. That's the claim, and it's true, and some people reasonably
> see it as a good reason for going vegan.
> ------>
>
> I would dispute all of the claims in that response.
>
> Vegan diets are not just as tasty, not to me. Meat and dairy introduces
> irreplaceable tastes and variety to any diet.
>
> Vegan diets are not just as nutritious in many cases. I have personally
> experienced failure to thrive on vegetarian diets and I know many people
> have. There was a recent study to this effect posted to aaev, and the
> issue is well documented at beyondveg.com.
>
> Vegan diets are not always associated with a smaller environmental
> footprint. They CAN BE, but Steven Davis's study, the Polyface Farm, and
> the experience of many small farmers illustrate that it is quite
> possible to use meat in a diet and have a small environmental footprint.
>
> These claims should be modified and placed in context.
>
> I also don't agree that veganism is reasonable, *vegetarianism* is
> reasonable, veganism is extreme and unreasonable.
>
> The vegan argument in reality is the AR argument, it is based on the
> notion that it is *unjust* to use animals as products.

That's right. The blabber about "efficiency" is merely a flabby attempt
at buttressing their lame "ar" argument - sort of saying "...and
/another/ thing..."

Rupie is flatly wrong about what they're "really" saying with this phony
"efficiency" argument. They're not *really* saying that the additional
land (used to grow fodder) shouldn't be used - they're saying that it
should be used for something else, including agriculture. You can see
this when many of them say that what it "ought" to be used for is to
grow food for starving people around the world. If they /really/ were
making an environmental protection argument, then they'd be saying it
shouldn't be used at all and those poor starving people should just be
allowed to die.

Rupert
2010-05-14 18:14:12 EST
On May 15, 6:26 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 5/14/2010 1:16 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On May 15, 6:15 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> > wrote:
> >> On 5/14/2010 1:06 PM, Rupert wrote:
>
> >>> On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
> >>>> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
> >>>> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
> >>>> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
> >>>> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
> >>>> livestock.
>
> >>>> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
> >>>> there must be agreement on what the end product is
> >>>> whose efficiency of production you are examining.  If
> >>>> you're looking at the production of consumer
> >>>> electronics, for example, then the output is
> >>>> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
> >>>> Rather obviously, you need to get specific.  No
> >>>> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
> >>>> discontinue the production of television sets, because
> >>>> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
> >>>> and produce more DVD players instead.  (For the
> >>>> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
> >>>> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
> >>>> television set is going to cost several hundred
> >>>> dollars.  $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
> >>>> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
> >>>> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
> >>>> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>
> >>>> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
> >>>> "inefficiency"?  They're clearly saying that the end
> >>>> product whose efficiency of production we want to
> >>>> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
> >>>> calories.  Just as clearly, they are wrong.  Humans
> >>>> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
> >>>> substitutable.  As in debunking so much of "veganism",
> >>>> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
> >>>> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
> >>>> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
> >>>> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
> >>>> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
> >>>> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
> >>>> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
> >>>> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
> >>>> than others.
>
> >>>> But how do "vegans" actually behave?  Why, they buy
> >>>> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
> >>>> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
> >>>> relatively resource-INefficient.  You know this by
> >>>> looking at retail prices:  higher priced goods ARE
> >>>> higher priced because they use more resources to
> >>>> produce.  If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
> >>>> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
> >>>> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
> >>>> nutritional requirement.  This would necessarily mean
> >>>> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
> >>>> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>
> >>>> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
> >>>> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
> >>>> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
> >>>> one brand).  The same would hold for every conceivable
> >>>> garment.  A button-front shirt with collars costs more
> >>>> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
> >>>> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
> >>>> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
> >>>> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
> >>>> don't "need" meat.  But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
> >>>> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
> >>>> (all natural fiber, of course.)  "vegans" aren't
> >>>> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
> >>>> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>
> >>>> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
> >>>> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
> >>>> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
> >>>> resources.  It is important to note that the consumer's
> >>>> view of products as distinct things is crucial.  A
> >>>> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
> >>>> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
> >>>> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
> >>>> devices.
>
> >>>> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
> >>>> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
> >>>> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
> >>>> of calories and other nutritional requirements.  Once
> >>>> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
> >>>> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
> >>>> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
> >>>> meat production falls to the ground.
>
> >>>> I hope this helps.
>
> >>> What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
> >>> intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
> >>> is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
> >>> footprint.
>
> >> That's not what it's saying at all, as we already know.
>
> > How do you know?
>
> I already explained it to you several times over the last couple of
> years.  The issue is *not* about environmental footprint, and you know
> it.  It's about a misconceived and ignorant belief regarding resource
> allocation.
>

The issue is not about environmental footprint *for whom*?

Do you claim that *no-one* who talks about the "inefficiency" of meat
production has this environmental argument in mind? That seems like a
pretty extraordinary claim to me.

You did persuade me that some people have some confused ideas about
resource allocation in mind but you have yet to persuade me that this
is usually the intended interpretation. When people talk about the
"inefficiency" of meat production they have in mind environmental
concerns, that seems to me to be just common sense. Sometimes they
have concerns about global food distribution in mind, too; when that
is the case they usually make it explicit.

Why would anyone regard "inefficiency" as a bad thing *apart* from
environmental externalities and aspects of the global food
distribution pattern among humans which are regarded as "a bad thing"?
Why would anyone regard inefficient consumption of resources as a bad
thing *in itself* except to the extent that the resources are not
replaceable (so that environmental externalities are taking place)?
When you claim that the usual intended interpretation has nothing to
do with environmental concerns, I really think you need to make it
clearer what interpretation you have in mind. I can't fathom why
anyone would be concerned about "inefficiency" in itself except to the
extent that they were worried about environmental imapct.

Fred C. Dobbs
2010-05-14 18:23:47 EST
On 5/14/2010 3:14 PM, Rupert wrote:
> On May 15, 6:26 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
> wrote:
>> On 5/14/2010 1:16 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>> On May 15, 6:15 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 5/14/2010 1:06 PM, Rupert wrote:
>>
>>>>> On May 15, 5:40 am, "Fred C. Dobbs"<fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> The "vegan" pseudo-argument on "inefficiency" is that
>>>>>> the resources used to produce a given amount of meat
>>>>>> could produce a much greater amount of vegetable food
>>>>>> for direct human consumption, due to the loss of energy
>>>>>> that results from feeding grain and other feeds to
>>>>>> livestock.
>>
>>>>>> In order to examine the efficiency of some process,
>>>>>> there must be agreement on what the end product is
>>>>>> whose efficiency of production you are examining. If
>>>>>> you're looking at the production of consumer
>>>>>> electronics, for example, then the output is
>>>>>> televisions, stereo receivers, DVD players, etc.
>>>>>> Rather obviously, you need to get specific. No
>>>>>> sensible person is going to suggest that we ought to
>>>>>> discontinue the production of television sets, because
>>>>>> they require more resources to produce (which they do),
>>>>>> and produce more DVD players instead. (For the
>>>>>> cave-dwellers, an extremely high quality DVD player may
>>>>>> be bought for under US$100, while a comparable quality
>>>>>> television set is going to cost several hundred
>>>>>> dollars. $500 for a DVD player is astronomical - I'm
>>>>>> not even sure there are any that expensive - while you
>>>>>> can easily pay $3000 or more for a large plasma TV
>>>>>> monitor, which will require a separate TV receiver.)
>>
>>>>>> What are the "vegans" doing with their misuse of
>>>>>> "inefficiency"? They're clearly saying that the end
>>>>>> product whose efficiency of production we want to
>>>>>> consider is "food", i.e., undifferentiated food
>>>>>> calories. Just as clearly, they are wrong. Humans
>>>>>> don't consider all foods equal, and hence equally
>>>>>> substitutable. As in debunking so much of "veganism",
>>>>>> we can see this easily - laughably easily - by
>>>>>> restricting our view to a strictly vegetarian diet,
>>>>>> without introducing meat into the discussion at all.
>>>>>> If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food production
>>>>>> efficiency, they would be advocating the production of
>>>>>> only a very small number of vegetable crops, as it is
>>>>>> obvious that some crops are more efficient to produce -
>>>>>> use less resources per nutritional unit of output -
>>>>>> than others.
>>
>>>>>> But how do "vegans" actually behave? Why, they buy
>>>>>> some fruits and vegetables that are resource-efficient,
>>>>>> and they buy some fruits and vegetables that are
>>>>>> relatively resource-INefficient. You know this by
>>>>>> looking at retail prices: higher priced goods ARE
>>>>>> higher priced because they use more resources to
>>>>>> produce. If "vegans" REALLY were interested in food
>>>>>> production efficiency, they would only be buying the
>>>>>> absolutely cheapest fruit or vegetable for any given
>>>>>> nutritional requirement. This would necessarily mean
>>>>>> there would be ONLY one kind of leafy green vegetable,
>>>>>> one kind of grain, one variety of fruit, and so on.
>>
>>>>>> If "vegans" were to extend this misuse of "efficiency"
>>>>>> into other consumer goods, say clothing, then there
>>>>>> would be only one kind of shoe produced (and thus only
>>>>>> one brand). The same would hold for every conceivable
>>>>>> garment. A button-front shirt with collars costs more
>>>>>> to produce - uses more resources - than does a T-shirt,
>>>>>> so everyone "ought" to wear only T-shirts, if we're
>>>>>> going to focus on the efficiency of shirt production.
>>>>>> You don't "need" any button front shirts, just as you
>>>>>> don't "need" meat. But look in any "vegan's" wardrobe,
>>>>>> and you'll see a variety of different kinds of clothing
>>>>>> (all natural fiber, of course.) "vegans" aren't
>>>>>> advocating that only the most "efficient" clothing be
>>>>>> produced, as their own behavior clearly indicates.
>>
>>>>>> The correct way to analyze efficiency of production is
>>>>>> to focus as narrowly as possible on the end product,
>>>>>> then see if that product can be produced using fewer
>>>>>> resources. It is important to note that the consumer's
>>>>>> view of products as distinct things is crucial. A
>>>>>> radio can be produced far more "efficiently", in terms
>>>>>> of resource use, than a television; but consumers don't
>>>>>> view radios and televisions as generic entertainment
>>>>>> devices.
>>
>>>>>> The critical mistake, the UNBELIEVABLY stupid mistake,
>>>>>> that "vegans" who misconceive of "inefficiency" are
>>>>>> making, is to see "food" as some undifferentiated lump
>>>>>> of calories and other nutritional requirements. Once
>>>>>> one realizes that this is not how ANYONE, including the
>>>>>> "vegans" themselves, views food, then the
>>>>>> "inefficiency" argument against using resources for
>>>>>> meat production falls to the ground.
>>
>>>>>> I hope this helps.
>>
>>>>> What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
>>>>> intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
>>>>> is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
>>>>> footprint.
>>
>>>> That's not what it's saying at all, as we already know.
>>
>>> How do you know?
>>
>> I already explained it to you several times over the last couple of
>> years. The issue is *not* about environmental footprint, and you know
>> it. It's about a misconceived and ignorant belief regarding resource
>> allocation.
>>
>
> The issue is not about environmental footprint *for whom*?

The issue is not about environmental footprint at all.


>
> Do you claim that *no-one* who talks about the "inefficiency" of meat
> production has this environmental argument in mind? That seems like a
> pretty extraordinary claim to me.

I mean that everyone who has blabbered about it here is not talking
about the environment. They're *all* talking about some kind of
nonsensical absolute inefficiency. The overwhelming majority have also
repeatedly maintained that the land currently in use for livestock
fodder continue to be used for agriculture, but that it be used to grow
food for "starving people" around the world. *Clearly*, that means
those people, at least, are not advancing an environmental argument.


--
Any more lip out of you and I'll haul off and let you have it...if you
know what's good for you, you won't monkey around with Fred C. Dobbs

Rupert
2010-05-14 18:30:03 EST
On May 15, 7:23 am, "Fred C. Dobbs" <fred.c.do...@earthlink.not>
wrote:
> On 5/14/2010 1:34 PM, Dutch wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > "Rupert" <rupertmccal...@yahoo.com> wrote
>
> > What the efficiency argument actually says, on any reasonably
> > intelligent reading, is that by going vegan you can have a diet which
> > is just as tasty and nutritious with a much smaller environmental
> > footprint. That's the claim, and it's true, and some people reasonably
> > see it as a good reason for going vegan.
> > ------>
>
> > I would dispute all of the claims in that response.
>

Dutch, I would just mention that I use Google Groups and I can never
see your posts anymore. I can only see what you have written in Ball's
reply, so I am replying to you by replying to Ball's post.

> > Vegan diets are not just as tasty, not to me. Meat and dairy introduces
> > irreplaceable tastes and variety to any diet.
>

Well, if that is your experience that is fine, but I and many other
people have had a different experience. If you are concerned about the
environmental footprint of your diet and also concerned about the
extent to which your diet tastes good - and I think most people are
concerned about both to some extent - then you would weigh up those
two considerations and find a trade-off. That's called optimising
within budget constraints; Ball can tell you all about that. You find
that a vegan diet is so incredibly unpalatable that you are prepared
to accept whatever increase in your environmental and animal-suffering
footprint you accept in order to make your diet more palatable. Well,
there you are, that is how you have chosen to spend your budget. I am
not considering moral questions in this discussion; you have chosen to
spend your budget one way, but I remarked that some people might be
rationally motivated by consideration of environmental externalities
to spend their budget a different way, and I claim, contra Ball, that
this is the usual intended interpretation of the "inefficiency"
argument. I don't see how you have any reason to dispute anything I've
said.

> > Vegan diets are not just as nutritious in many cases. I have personally
> > experienced failure to thrive on vegetarian diets and I know many people
> > have. There was a recent study to this effect posted to aaev, and the
> > issue is well documented at beyondveg.com.
>

If you were having serious health problems as a result of a vegetarian
diet then that too would be a relevant consideration, but I don't
believe this is especially common because it is the position of the
American Dietetic Assocation that vegan diets are nutritionally
adequate and healthy at all stages of life and can help to reduce the
risk of many serious health problems, I know many people who are on a
vegan diet who are extremely healthy, many high-performing athletes
are vegan, and two health professionals have told me that going vegan
is an excellent choice. That's about all the evidence I have so far
that bears on the matter. You have an anecdote about an experience you
had which suggests that maybe some people fail to thrive on vegetarian
diets, and possibly some scientific evidence as well. Well, I'm happy
to look at the scientific evidence if you want to show me. I don't
think that you can plausibly claim that serious health problems from a
sensibly-planned vegan diet (and "sensible planning" is no especially
onerous challenge) are especially common, but if you had some reason
to think that there was a serious risk of that for you, then that
would be a relevant consideration, obviously. I believe that my
statement that vegan diets are healthy for the overwhelming majority
of people was quite well-supported by the current scientific evidence.


> > Vegan diets are not always associated with a smaller environmental
> > footprint. They CAN BE, but Steven Davis's study, the Polyface Farm, and
> > the experience of many small farmers illustrate that it is quite
> > possible to use meat in a diet and have a small environmental footprint.
>

That's a different claim. A vegan diet involves a significant
reduction in environmental footprint from a typical Western diet.
There may be other ways of achieving the same effect, yes. I never
denied that. If environmental concerns were what you were worried
about then it would be rational to consider those options too.

> > These claims should be modified and placed in context.
>
> > I also don't agree that veganism is reasonable, *vegetarianism* is
> > reasonable, veganism is extreme and unreasonable.
>
> > The vegan argument in reality is the AR argument, it is based on the
> > notion that it is *unjust* to use animals as products.
>

Often, yes. But that was not the argument that Ball was discussing in
this thread.

I would think that if most people took a hard look at what goes on in
most modern farms and slaughterhouses just in order to provide them
with food which they find slightly more enjoyable they'd probably be
hard-pressed to avoid the conclusion that it is unjust. I don't regard
veganism as an unreasonable response to the situation.

But that is the animal-welfare argument. Ball wanted to discuss the
"inefficiency" argument, which I claim that he has mischaracterised. I
claim that it is correctly characterised as an argument from concerns
about your environmental footprint which you would weigh up against
other concerns about how good your food tastes and about your health.
I believe that most people would become more healthy by going vegan
and I have a fair number of health professionals who back me up. Your
situation may be different. Regarding how good the food tastes one
can't really argue about that. De gustibus non disputandum est, as
they say. I would think that for most people the environmental
argument in itself would be a fairly compelling one. But that is not
really the point. I was just trying to tell Ball that I thought that
he had mischaracterised the position of those who talk about the
"inefficiency" of meat production.


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