Ordering people to save or to lose weight.


I saw an article in the Metro the other day (18th April) about how Croydon council is considering banning new fast-food outlets.


They’ve had 246 outlets operating in the last year, so I’m not convinced that stopping the number increasing would have a huge impact!


I’ve said before that brute force “controls” like that don’t work.  But still we have people saying they want to “reduce the number near schools” and similar “I’m against sin and in favour of the blindingly obvious good” comments.


We can do bans, and orders and planning restrictions etc.  And that is the same as having orders and rule restructures to “force” people to save for pensions.  It looks like good sense, doesn’t work, wastes money and distracts time, effort and funding from policy that might work.


Eventually, it’s going to occur to somebody in Government (National and local) that flexing your muscles and trying to force people to do what you think is best for them isn’t going to work.  We need to think (in terms of finance, diet and everything else), about what motivates people.


People tend to eat fast food because it’s convenient and they like it.  They might not even be hungry, but as I explained, they will still eat it.  So perhaps we need to make healthy fast food more convenient and tasty. Maybe we need to make unhealthy fast food more inconvenient and more unpalatable.  


There are various ways to do it, and that’s what Government should look at.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.  What you can do is salt its oats.


Government needs to work out how to salt the oats of people so that they will actually want to save, to eat healthier food etc. rather than being told to do those things while still wanting to spend money now on fatty, salty, sugary snack food.


Or perhaps, given the topic, Government needs to think (or ask other people to think for them, as they find thinking so difficult) about using a low-sodium salt-substitute on people’s oats!





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