Because I am a fervent believer that the unrestrained free market has the best possible answers to all problems, I would like to propose to the Internets at large a solution to the problem of meat, and a way of reigning in the pork and cattle industries that have become nothing less than environmental disasters.
The industrial world has shown us the way. Carbon credits, in which over-polluting companies can buy what are essentially rights to pollute from companies that have cleaned up their act, are obviously turning around the entire global warming problem. Lickety-split, as they say. Thus, we simply need to apply this model to the agribusiness world, and we’re in good shape.
Here’s how it will work. All people on the planet will be given an appropriate level of meat consumption. Say, three-quarters of a pound a week. That’s three quarter pounders at McDonalds, more if you figure that not all that mashed-up stuff is actually meat anyway. Anybody who wants to consume more than that can go onto to MeatOffsetCredits.com and buy credits, and chow down to their heart’s content.
The credits themselves will come from people who can document that they’ve eaten less than the 3/4 lb per week. Veggies, tofu- and bean-lovers. The less meat you eat, the more money you’ve got in the bank.
Think of the advantages. It’s a perfect way to funnel developed-world funds to poverty-stricken, or even voluntarily vegetarian nations. Give every citizen in the world a MeatOffsetCredits.com account, and we can even skip some of those pesky foreign aid issues where development funds get diverted by (dare I say steak-loving) dictators and generals.
And for those of us bean-lovers who are living in say, Berlin, skimping on meat budgets so we can enjoy our palatial two-room apartments, well, let’s just say we won’t have to worry about the falling dollar anymore. We’ll be subsidized by the international brotherhood of the Fleisch.
Who’s with me? Anybody have Ban Ki-Moon’s email address?
(Thanks to Kean for the link to this NYT story, which is a good luck at the genuinely terrible state of industrial meat production and consumption in America)