This is not quite what people seem to think it is. The report seems to show that people are happy with restrictions and taxes if they are for the common good. Thus we should go and tax meat. But that’s really not quite what is actually being said:
Taxing meat to simultaneously tackle climate change and improve global health would be far less unpalatable than governments think, according to new research.
Meat production produces 15% of all greenhouse gases – more than all cars, trains, planes and ships combined – and halting global warming appears near impossible unless the world’s fast growing appetite for meat is addressed.
The new analysis says this could be done through taxes, increasing vegetarian food in schools, hospitals and the armed forces and cutting subsidies to livestock farmers, all supported by public information campaigns.
The research, from the international affairs thinktank Chatham House and Glasgow University, involved surveys and focus groups in 12 countries and found that even measures restricting peoples’ behaviour could be accepted if seen as in the public interest, as was seen with smoking bans.
“Governments are ignoring what should be a hugely appealing, win-win policy,” said lead author Laura Wellesley, at Chatham House.
“The idea that interventions like this are too politically sensitive and too difficult to implement is unjustified. Our focus groups show people expect governments to lead action on issues that are for the global good. Our research indicates any backlash to unpopular policies would likely be short-lived as long as the rationale for action was strong.”
What they have actually found is that if they dress up the policy that they already desire as being something that is for the common good then people will complain less. Something which is obviously true, every orator and politician has known for ever that the more you appeal to peoples’ extant prejudices the more ridiculous the policy you can get them to swallow.
What Chatham House has just done is discover how to produce the propaganda for meat taxes, nothing else. And well done them of course, although quite when Chatham House got into the propaganda business we’re not quite sure.