Economic freedom makes you fat

A fascinating little finding from the WHO: economic freedom makes you fat:

In line with previous research, our study shows that countries adopting what are considered market-liberal policies experience faster increases in both fast food consumption and mean BMI. These results are in accord with previous research showing that more stringent trade restrictions – including better protection of agricultural producers – the frequency of price controls and stricter government regulations46 are negatively correlated with obesity.

And what are we supposed to make of this? No, it's not because they've included poverty stricken hell holes like Cuba or North Korea. It's OECD countries only they've studied.

Well, what I make of it is that clearly people desire to consume fast food and are happy enough to end up a bit porky as a result. And as that's what people desire to do what damn business is it of anyone else to prevent their doing so?

For look at what it actually is that they're saying. In those places where people are free to open up fast food joints the citizenry appear to like, enjoy even, consuming the produce of those joints. Assume that all of their calculations are indeed correct and that both this is true and also that this leads to lardbucketry. Excellent, since the aim of this whole economics thing is to maximise the possibly utility of the populace then we seem to have found a method of doing so. That is, maximise economic freedom and then let people do as they please.

Which is, of course, what is being done. That people use this freedom in a manner that certain prodnoses don't approve of makes no matter. For the utility we're trying to maximise is that of the populace not the prodnoses.

If a regular hamburger or two makes you happier, despite or because of that extra 20 lbs you carry as a result, great, you're happier and that's the whole point of this economic freedom thing. And as revealed preferences tell us, if people didn't enjoy these sorts of things then their greater economic freedom would not lead to their doing them.

So, all in all we should thank the WHO for revealing this truth to us. In precisely those places where people are able to consume as much fast food as they would like to they do so. Those attempting to stop people exercising their own choices and desires in such a manner are therefore, by definition, illiberals.