Why are more and more of us getting fatter and fatter?
Is it because “Big Food” wants us to be fat?
Now, before someone labels me as a conspiracy theorist, hear me out…
And, there’s nothing wrong with that…It’s a free market
Or, is it?
According to Dr. Peter Ubel, in his new book – Free Market Madness – food producers spend a lot of money learning why you buy the things that you buy.
In some supermarket today, an anthropologist is wandering the aisles watching how you shop, observing whether your eyes roam the shelves from top to bottom or bottom to top, and measuring how long you linger in front of display cases if you have toddlers in tow.
The simple fact is, you know less about your own shopping behavior than the people running the stores that you shop at.
Because of this, is it any wonder, that people have purchased themselves into debt, with the American citizenry demonstrating a negative savings rate in recent years?
And is it really surprising that our hospitals are teeming with people whose diseases are a result of smoking, drinking, and overeating?
Western-style democracies pride themselves on freedom: freedom to assemble, freedom to elect legislators, and freedom to interact in the marketplace. Indeed, capitalism and democracy seem to go hand in hand.
But freedom to choose is accompanied by the freedom to make bad choices.
And in the current marketplace, filled with companies that make a practice of studying human behavior, freedom too often leads to harm and misery.
(and obesity and type 2 diabetes and fatty liver and hip replacement surgeries and gastric bypass operantions and…)
Proctor & Gamble owns multimillion-dollar functional (fMRI) MRI machines, which enable the company to visualize which part of your brain “lights up” when you view its products.
Psychology and sociology PhDs leave academia to work for industry or Madison Avenue, where they can employ their knowledge of human behavior in the service of selling consumer goods.
We might think that we’re impervious to television ads or supermarket sales schemes.
But marketers and sales experts know more about our behavior than we do, and they know how to influence us without our awareness.
So, how do you defeat all of the psychological tricks that the food producers and marketing gurus are throwing at you?