Friday, 18 May 2012

Whodathunkit

I've seen a few blogs criticising scepticism in the paleosphere - particularly the suspicion of 'Big Agro' and 'Big Pharma'.  But there is evidence that financial reward can skew behaviour.  Follow the money.

I came across this piece on vested interests.  Alcohol policy initiatives in four African countries were sponsored by the International Center on Alcohol Policies, an alcohol industry-funded organization - and guess what happened?
  • The processes and the draft policy documents reviewed provide insights into the methods, as well as the strategic and political objectives of the multi-national drinks industry. This initiative reflects the industry's preferred version of a national alcohol policy. The industry policy vision ignores, or chooses selectively from, the international evidence base on alcohol prevention developed by independent alcohol researchers and disregards or minimizes a public health approach to alcohol problems. The policies reviewed maintain a narrow focus on the economic benefits from the trade in alcohol. In terms of alcohol problems (and their remediation) the documents focus upon individual drinkers, ignoring effective environmental interventions. The proposed policies serve the industry's interests at the expense of public health by attempting to enshrine ‘active participation of all levels of the beverage alcohol industry as a key partner in the policy formulation and implementation process’.
When you are faced with financial incentives and with distance between yourself and the immediate human consequence of your decisions, it highly likely you'd behave the same way (price effect), although the problem of 'vested interests' runs much deeper in all areas of our lives.

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