A French study has challenged the findings of a well-publicized British report that said organic food offers no conclusive health benefits. Maybe organic food is healthier for you, maybe it isn’t. I’d just regard it as inconclusive at best.

Naomi Klein, one of the anti-globalization movement’s favorite writer’s, has decided she will disaffiliate herself with UK Channel 4’s upcoming film rendition of her best-selling book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The Independent reports:

A source at Channel 4 said the [Klein] was so disappointed with [their] vision of her book – which she reportedly felt did not carefully lay out the thesis or explain the economics but instead made unproven assertions – that she sought to distance herself from the film after seeing the early cuts.

Sadly, for those of us who’d love to hear her voice narrate overdramatic and inaccurate juxtapositions of Milton Friedman quotes with dying children, we’ll have to stick to a short video she made before.

For those who don’t know, Klein’s book argues that liberalizations of markets are remarkably unpopular and come about only in times of crises. Among her many flaws, she uses Milton Friedman quotes horribly out of context and bases her entire book on the idea that free market ideology only succeeds when people are in a state of shock. One terrible inaccuracy, as many critics pointed out, was when she revised history by claiming Tiananmen Square showed students’ unwillingness to accept market reforms – when, in reality, the opposite is true.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that people, in a state of shock, accept some change that they wouldn’t otherwise. That was Friedman’s point. Where Klein goes berserk is by assuming that moves towards free trade or ending of price controls were never popular and came about only through undemocratic means. I have to hand it to her: of all the anti-globalization writers, Naomi Klein manages to be both the least insightful and most popular.

Tyler Cowen bashes the book here. Read Johan Norberg’s excellent rebuttal of Naomi Klein’s book here. Or, for a short teaser on his paper, check out this video:


So, reports say that organic food isn’t healthier for you than other food. We hate to break it to the birkenstock crowd, but organic food is also, more often than not, owned by big huge evil corporations. Even if you’re pretty sure that’s not true for some products, guess again:

“The large companies go to great lengths to hide that they’re the owners,” Potter said from his company’s headquarters in Clinton, Mich. “There’s a great deal of effort that goes into shielding that from the public. There’s smoke and mirrors in the marketing of organic foods.

Even when it’s not General Mills or Kellog’s owning it,  huge companies like Horizon usually control the market. 20% of organic food even comes from China, so the whole “local” argument doesn’t always stand up either.

People buy organic for many other reasons, though. But the idea that it’s better for the environment, promotes better employment practices, or tastes better are all wrong too. We’ll get to that later, though. In the meantime, check out a pretty good overview of some arguments against organic food here.

I’ll admit, the idea of ending all occupational licensing is very controversial. But does this make any sense? Sadly, it’s not the first time a child’s lemonade stand has been shut down.


Next thing you know, we’ll be subsidizing lemonade stands so they can compete against cheaper, foreign lemonade. We’ll also keep the lemonade artifically expensive so those stands’ adorable owners can be self-sufficient.

It was published last week, but I might as well post about it anyways. A recent comprehensive study showed that organic food is no more healthy than non-organic food. The Times article, summarized in one sentence, reads:

Shoppers pay more for organic fruit, vegetables, chicken, beef and milk but the food gives no nutritional enhancement to people’s diet.

Coincidentally, Penn and Teller had an episode last Thursday about what they see as the plethora of B.S. behind the organic food industry. P&T aren’t always completely insightful or exclusively instructive, in my opinion. But the episode nonetheless makes some good arguments in an ever-so-lighthearted fashion.