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"Given that we live in an economy in which virtually everything in our homes has been designed and built hundreds or thousands of miles from where we live, where's the sense in singling out food for this particular kind of analysis?"
Brainiac rarely disappoints, and Christopher Shea throws some monkey wrenches into an annoying new dogma from the left side of the aisle: only eat local.
"This might be one area in which it makes sense to think like an economist (or at least like Columbia's Jagdish Bhagwati, whom I interviewed on the subject): If we were to raise taxes on gasoline (or petroleum, or carbon), that would discourage environmentally wasteful shipping throughout the economy. There would be no need to calculate how far the butterbean on your plate traveled to reach you..."
Few people will make those calculations, and those who do will likely spend so much time on them that they'll overlook other nongreen aspects of their lives. Young people and ideologues underestimate the value of setting things up so that they go right automatically most of the time. (And as ideologies go, localism is not going to do the work for this generation that socialism did for our grandparents'. It's more of an attitude than a set of ideas.)