One of the biggest contributors to obesity and environmental degradation in the past 35 years has been the increasing sophistication of all facets of marketing to create an environment where highly processed and energy dense food is easily available to those living in developed countries.
Although it is typically argued that lifestyles have become more sedentary over this time, it is a fact that consumers have been encouraged through highly sophisticated marketing activities, including supply chain management (e.g., easy access to convenience and processed food), pricing (e.g., reduced costs, better "value" and longer perishability of processed foods), as well as integrated advertising campaigns, to purchase and consume foods that provide a high fat, high sugar, and high salt "hit".
It’s hard to see how something like the “free” bike scheme being launched in Melbourne is going to be at all successful.
A report in The Age tells us that “users will pay a membership fee – $2.50 a day or up to $50 a year…” But, and here’s the killer, if a bike isn’t returned within half an hour, then people will be penalised heavily ($20 after two hours, and $370 after 10 hours). Add to this, the requirement for people to bring their own helmets, the danger of riding bikes in a very un-bike-friendly city, and the need to pre-register, as a marketer, I can see that in its current form, in this particular market, it is doomed to fail.
I did live in hope that we wouldn’t go the way of US schools, but I guess it was always going to be a bit difficult to resist. News that “leading educators” (are these official titles?) are willing to back sponsorship of schools by food companies such as McDonalds, and other commercial brands, puts children at more risk than simply being exposed to what Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam says will be “five minutes of advertising a day”.
Of course, numeracy and literacy programs are critical, but at what cost?
The Australian Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has recently released the report of the federal government’s Preventative Health Task Force. Amongst some of the recommendations, the most sensible one is that it should be easier for people to be healthy. However, much of the media reporting has focused on the report’s recommendation that taxing of unhealthy products would lead to shifts in behaviour.
The link between success and luck is stronger than most people think, writes Economist Robert Frank of Cornell University in The New York Times. The difficulty that some have with his argument is that it challenges everything about the American dream. But, sadly for all those people who like to think that they are fully responsible for "pulling themselves up by their boot strings", "brushing themselves off", and "thinking about tomorrow", it is very much the truth.
Senator Fielding and the opposition acted destructively and against scientific evidence in blocking the “alcopops tax”.
The war in Afghanistan was lost over 4 years ago. Given what has been dropped on and fired at them since late 2001, it is clear the Taliban cannot be eliminated: after all, they have nowhere else to go. There are no military solutions to the complex social, political and economic problems in the country. Victory cannot even be rationally or coherently defined by Western forces.