丰裕年代的经济学

伯克利—直到最近,人类所面临的最大挑战之一是确保有足够多的吃的。从农业雏形齐到工业时代,普通人的条件都处于营养学家和公共卫生专家认为严重和有害的营养生物医学压力状态。

大约在250年前,乔治英格兰是有史以来最富裕的社会,但食品短缺仍然困扰着很大一部分人口。被皇家海洋协会(Marine Society)派去船上为官员服务的青少年要比上流人士的孩子矮15厘米。在经历了一百年的经济增长后,美国工作阶级仍要把40%的收入用于增加卡路里。

如今,食品短缺已不再是个问题,至少在高收入国家是如此。在美国,大约1%的劳动力就能生产足够多的食品为全国人口提供足够的卡路里和必要营养素,而运输和分销这些食品则需要另外1%的劳动力即可。当然,这并不是食品行业的全部。但其余致力于将食品送到我们口中的14%的劳动力的工作是让我们吃得更美味或更方便——这与其说是必需品,不如说是娱乐或艺术。

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