Friday, October 26, 2007

Information and Growth

Labeling on food and other products is one approach to providing knowledge to people when they make a buying decision, summarizing types of information such as contents and nutrition. Like the products themselves, there are competing demand for types of information, and except where government (as an agent of society) deigns to regulate it, the “market” tends to determine what is available.

The market and society have so far determined that most chemical compounds used in products do not need to be tested for their long-term health impact prior to being used. Now that people are discovering huge amounts of industrial chemicals in their bodies, this situation may change; but may enough awareness to influence demand come too late to avert the most serious possible outcomes (among them a massive health crisis)?

This discussion illustrates one possible explanation for the apparent increase in false knowledge over the past 40 years: a devotion to economic growth at the expense of due diligence in determining the impact of our actions on other people, thus providing information they would need to know to decide whether or not to support our growth.

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