Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Conscience taxes

Conscience tax - the extra we pay to make ethical buying choices. You want meat from animals humanely raised, it costs more. Organic? Biodegradable? From Living Wage employers? Costs more. But more than what? Cruelty, environmental damage, exploitation?

This only sets us on a downward spiral. From a policy perspective, we should be creating our laws and taxation to encourage the behaviours we want to see. If we want to move to a more sustainable food system that doesn't rely on abjectly cruel practices, for example, we should be taxing meat that doesn't meet a minimum standard for how the animals are treated. That would change practices in a hurry. Imagine if you had to pay more for cruelty and waste than for compassion and sustainability? A cruelty tax. An exploitation tax. Would it cost more? Yes. It would cost more. We would need to consume less to spend the same amount. That's true. Do I like it? Not particularly. But I don't like spending money to fix my roof, either. We need to fix the leaks.

What humanely raised meat costs now, that's what meat should cost. Anything else is unethical.

In our society, we get exactly what we pay for.