Friday 15 June 2018

The Lancet has become a laughing stock

Richard Horton, the Marxist victim of a midlife crisis who has turned The Lancet into a student rag, holds forth in the current issue on the World Health Organisation's failure to endorse fizzy drink taxes as a 'best buy'. WHO's 'best buys' require a modicum of evidence showing that they do what they are supposed to do (not much, admittedly, but some). Leaving aside the question of whether the WHO should really be getting involved with the price of soft drinks, it is beyond dispute that sugary drink taxes have never reduced obesity anywhere in the world and so it is right that its committee rejected them.

It is not known how many countries objected to them being included, but one of them was certainly the USA. The USA has more experience with taxing soda than any other country, so it knows that they don't work.

Cue Richard Horton who bemoans the lack of a sugar tax in the final list of best buys while consoling himself that the sessions 'flushed out the chief opponent of political progress—the US Government'...

As Jamey Keaten and Maria Cheng reported for the Associated Press, it was the US representative on the Commission, Eric Hargan, who “torpedoed” efforts to add a recommendation on taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. Now we have a target: the US administration, which has adopted an anti-science position [!!!] on fiscal interventions and whose raison d'être is to defend health-harming industries. Second, the controversy over the Commission's report highlights the context of the debate about NCDs [noncommunicable diseases]—namely, the pervasive and escalating dangers of neoliberalism.

You have to remind yourself that you're not reading The Canary or The Morning Star. Let there be no doubt that the ludicrous battle against NCDs is part of a war on what Horton calls 'neoliberalism' but what most people call a market economy in which people get what they want rather than what arrogant elitists think they should have.

1 comment:

Chris Oakley said...

It is sad that one of the oldest and most influential journals on the planet has been turned into a political rag by an editor of very limited talent and questionable judgement.