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CRW1 Unit 6 Health and Fitness

May 16, 2017

The question below is a controversial moral issue, namely: how much control, if any, should governments have over individuals? Modern political philosophy focuses on respecting rights. At one end of the spectrum are libertarians; at the other are liberals. Libertarians prefer a laissez-faire approach – that government should not interfere in people’s lives and that people should make their own decisions, even if the consequences are harmful. Liberals prefer government intervention such as rules and regulations to minimize detrimental effects on citizens. A tax on products that are bad for health would be supported by liberals to prevent harmful health problems. On the other hand, libertarians would argue that the tax law was an example of paternalism, i.e,government acting like a parent. Libertarians argue that paternalistic laws are not morally justifiable, even to protect people from harming themselves. (Note: On economic issues such as tax, libertarians and oonservatives share common values.)

Students: Do you agree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health? Why / why not? (Note: The background information above on Western morality is not necessary for your answer. You may disregard if you like.)

20 Comments leave one →
  1. jello2 permalink
    May 18, 2017 1:58 am

    I disagree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. As for the background knowledge, I am on the libertarian’s side. I think the government should give freedom to their citizens. Taking care of health is the individual’s duty and being ill is their own fault for not taking care. If the government charge tax on many products for unhealthy people, it is unfair to other people who takes good health care. Also, there could be a controversial about which product is bad or not. Instead of charging tax on products, I think supporting health care centers or persuading people to get fit by campaign advertisements is a better way to take care of people’s health. By regularly checking how their health is, people can get stimulation to exercise and eat healthy foods. I think laissez-faire approach is a better way to control people than regulating them.

    • proftodd permalink*
      May 23, 2017 10:37 am

      “the government should give freedom to their citizens”

      How about children and teens? Should they also have the freedom to choose unhealthy foods, or should society protect them until they have developed the cognitive ability to make rational choices? Because children develop their eating habits when they are young, taxing unhealthy foods might send a message that those products can harm one’s health.

  2. LOTBS permalink
    May 20, 2017 2:33 am

    With demand of consumers, types of food became numerous and unique for fulfilling individuals’ taste, with the increase of speed, stimulation on taste and quantity. People sometime choose to have fast food, which is called in other way; instant or junk food. Many adults drink alcohol for good or bad events, which if fatal to the health of the liver. Then why do they drink? Reasons can be the stress they got, pressure and burden they have. Then, does this kind of diet is attributes to the government? I would answer yes and they must be responsible of citizen’s diet.
    Even though some people deliberately choose to eat or drink ‘bad’ food, most of the situation and atmosphere for eating and drinking bad food originates from the societal problem. Working moms and fathers are busy going to their distant working place, so they rather select to eat fast food than slow and healthy food, leading them to lessen the time spending with their family. Due to the economical and societal problem, such as decrease in payment and unemployment, people get so much stress that they got consolation from the alcohol for forgetting their concern on themselves, their family, county and world. Some people could say that those people ‘chose’ to drink or eat even with the good situation. However, I think it is more dangerous and fatal with bad and serious mood of instant food’s consumer. Have you heard ‘If you drink alcohol happily, it is medicine, and if you drink in compulsive situation, it become poisonous. ‘So, I think government is the one who makes more severe situation, driving people to ‘unhealthy’ body.
    However, the resolution I am thinking of is a little bit different from the others. I think government must compel companies, rather than individual consumers. For instance, Soju (one type of alcohol) is well known for activating the economy, because most of the cost are included in tax, which is good for government. So, I think like the case of soju, government must almost maintain the cost of the products and increase the burden to the companies. If companies include ‘bad components’, government can increase the tax rate in certain products.
    It is sure individual choose their selection depending on their intention and purpose to taste and try. However, for the health of the citizen and country, it is essential for companies to decrease the production of bad food and increase the well-being food. So in the aspect of seeing ‘Government is responsible for citizen’s health’, I would strongly argue government must compel companies to manufacture nutritious food for individual and country’s health.

  3. Dolce permalink
    May 22, 2017 1:12 am

    These days, there are many arguments about charging a tax on unhealthy foods. Some regions in Virginia implement it. However, I do not agree that the government should charge a tax on products which are bad for health.

    First, choosing foods is a freedom of people and the government should guarantee their freedom. People should choose whatever foods they want to eat, although they eat unhealthy foods. The government don’t have to charge a tax on unhealthy foods because eating unhealthy foods such as hamburger, pizza and chicken is a will of people. Also, charging a tax on products that are bad for health can violate basic rights of people.

    Second, the burden of people increases. If the government charge a tax on unhealthy food, people will pay much taxes and feel burdened. Moreover, taxes that should be used in important things like national defense and welfare could be wasted.

    Third, the standard of unhealthy food is ambiguous. Each person is different depending on age and gender… and each food has unique characteristics. However, if the government ignore it and evaluate on the basis of only one standard, there will be errors. Thus, it is not good to judge unhealthy foods on a uniform standard.

    Because of these reasons, I think that the government should not charge a tax on products which are bad for health. Instead, the government can help people to keep fit by constructing many gyms or implement various exercise programs.

  4. aeria22 permalink
    May 22, 2017 9:24 am

    Nowadays, there is an ongoing argument whether governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. To minimize detrimental effects on citizens, some people agree with the idea. Others, however, disagree based on a main reason that governments should respect consumers’ individual choices, and it is freedom for choosing themselves. In my opinion, it is definitely appropriate for Korean society not to tax on products that are bad for health.

    In Korean society, people have already been so sensitive to obesity. There are a variety of diet foods and programs, and they are moving very well. People who go to the gym or pool with the purpose of getting fit can be seen as a common sight. Surely, there are some who should lose weight because of health problems, but because losing weight depends upon their will, taxing could not be a radical solution. Like the case of a cigarette raising, it won’t work.

    Additionally, taxes are not preferred policies. If there were a politician who argue that governments should tax on products that are bad for health, she or he would not be likely to be elected. As I stated above, Korean people have already been in similar arguments, a cigarette raising. According to the results of the survey of National Statistical Office, the raising does not work, rather smoking rate is slightly increased. I don’t know why the results are like that, but it is for sure that taxes are ineffective.

    For their people’s health, the governments should take actions, and somewhat be involved. Solving the problem ‘Obesity’ as one-dimensional easy system ‘Taxes’ does not seem to be a good solution. Governments could act like parents, but it should not be in this way. If they really want for people to consume products good for health and reject those bad for health, they should design high-level policies and proclaim them carefully.

  5. Ohyeah permalink
    May 22, 2017 11:08 am

    I think goverment can charge on some products that are bad for health, but not all of them. In Korea, likewise, heavy taxes are laid on only alchoholic drink and cigarette. I agree to charge tax on those two product because they make strong external effects.

    Firstly, cigarettes cause health hazards like cancer or lung diseases for many smokers. Nearly 5.4 million adults dies each year. Seriously, many non-smokers are suffering from second hand smoke. Likewise, fotry-one percent of the number of car accident is drunk-driving accident. Any product that cause serious damage ro guiltless people should be regulated at most.

    But i don’t agree with charging tax on other products. Other products like junk food have no worries to create serious problem. The satisfaction earned by junk food is much bigger than the degree of its damage. Also, people have rights as long as they are not infringing upon the rights of others. This can applied samely on products we consume. When consuming junk food, we have no worry about damaging to other people. So, goverment have no right to regulate those products.

    • proftodd permalink*
      May 23, 2017 10:52 am

      “When consuming junk food, we have no worry about damaging to other people.”

      Possibly. However, the amount of consumption can be problematic. Diets high in junk food have been proven to be bad for health. Unhealthy people take more sick days; unhealthy workers are less productive; sick people increase health costs to a society with a public health care system.

  6. May 22, 2017 4:08 pm

    Governments tend to charge a tax on products that are bad for health to decrease public’s consumption about unhealthy products. However, some people argue that the policy interferes people’s lives and rights.

    In my opinion, I agree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. Many people consume bad products like alcohol, cigarette, and fast food. This comsumption is increased when the products are cheap. And as more people consume products, their health will become worse. To protect public’s health, governments should restrict their consumption about bad products. However, restricting consumption directly interferes people’s rights. Therefore, indirectly, by charging tax on bad products, governments should protect public’s health.

    Thus, charging tax on bad products is the way that governments protect people’s health, minimizing interference about their lives and rights.

  7. Lemon permalink
    May 22, 2017 5:24 pm

    Long time ago, I have thought about this issue that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. At that time, I agreed the opinion of libertarian that government should not interfere in people’s lives and that people should make their own decisions. Therefore, I thought that this is the right way that governments should not charge a tax on products that are bad for health. Because I thought that persons such as us have the right of liberty for each person. However, for the first time I realized that this is the wrong way. And I changed my thought the opinion of libertarian to liberal’s. From now on, I will tell you why my thought is changed.
    Liberals like the intervention of government to minimize detrimental effects on citizens. Therefore, they agree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health to prevent harmful health problems. I agree the opinion of liberal that charging a tax on products that are bad for health. Because there are many people who can’t control their rationality. I think that the reason of this affair is that these people prefer their sensibility to their rationality. If these kind of people are addicted to some products that are bad for their health, they can’t control their rationality and have to keep on buying these products that are harmful to their health. The treasure of country is citizens. Thus, the country have to control its treasures by charging a tax on products that are bad for health. Because if governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health, it can make people who want to buy bad products for their health not to buy these or to buy a small quantity because of the tax. And then, many people can be healthier and live longer than before thanks to the intervention of government. I think this is the role of country. The reason that the existence of country is to protect citizens. Thus, if citizens are given excessive freedom, I think that country doesn’t have to be existed. Do you think that this rule that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health can not be effective to prevent buying bad products? Do you really think so? I will explain to you to use one example. For one, my grandfather was always having a smoke. He really tried to give up smoking but he couldn’t stop smoking. One day, the price of cigarette was higher than before. And next day, a miracle happened. My grandfather succeeded to stop smoking because of the high price of cigarette. And after this affair, I changed my thought the opinion of libertarian to liberal’s.
    For this reason, I think that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. In other words, I agree with the opinion of liberal. In reality, I really want that the governments have to select liberal’s opinion and implement this. And I hope that there is becoming to live many healthy people in Korea. Thank you for reading my writing.

    • proftodd permalink*
      May 23, 2017 10:59 am

      In Canada, the government tax on cigarettes made them unaffordable to most young people, decreasing the number of future smokers.

  8. JW2 permalink
    May 22, 2017 11:33 pm

    I disagree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. These days some people argue that the governments impose a health tax. According to them, daily consumption of bad for health leads to various health risks and the costs
    of treating heart disease and diabetes patients are increasing each year. But, I think that government should ensure that people have freedom to choose food. It is not sure whether consumption of bad food is declining even if governments should charge a tax. I think that they will find other way to buy cheap bad food. For example they will buy bad food in other country. Also standard of bad food is not clear. Some people may think that hamburger is bad food. But other people may think that hamburger is not bad food. And The government’s tax will increase policy increased the burden laid on the people. In addition, a tax on unhealthy food will not stop people from eating whatever they want. According to some people, bad food such as a junk food tax will encourage people to eat better. but if junk food is so unhealthy, the government should ban it altogether, not try to raise taxes on it. It is impossible.
    I think that Instead of taxing unhealthy foods, a much better solution would be to make healthy foods more affordable.

  9. wgcc permalink
    May 23, 2017 5:10 am

    Before expressing my opinion about imposing tax on products that are harm to health, I notify you that I have a liberal point of view. So maybe you can predict my opinion very easily. Yes, I do not agree to impose extra tax on junk foods.

    In personal point of view, because it is individual’s freedom to take their foods. Also, junk foods too. People who are in obese have choices to lose weight or not. Government has a duty for helping people who want to lose weight get in shape, but they don’t have any duty that enforce people lose weight. And imposing extra tax on junk foods is compelling their thoughts to individuals. Also, alcohol and cigarette are harm to health too, but it cannot easily be changed with their prices because their main consumers are adults. It is unfair.

  10. ade permalink
    May 23, 2017 6:59 am

    I don’t agree with the idea that government should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. This idea makes some sense for the point that if governemnt put tax on the bad food, then the people wiould stop eating bad food and keep their body healthy.
    However, I believe that one has his or her way to live. If they don’t wan’t to live as what they are, then it’s their things to be changed. But if they live as what they are, it’s also his or her own opinion. Some poeple espocially people who prefer to eat or enjoy eating would be serious would have hard ship if the government put tax on bad foods. Governemnt must not ruin or ignore one’ce thoughts because it’s their own choice, thoguts, and rights. Therefore if the governent put tax on bad foods, it means that the governemnt doesn’t think of the citizen and the citizen lost his or her own rights or freedom. If the governemnt hopes to reduce the number of obesity in the country, they can advertise some interesting way to lose the weights not just by not eating. Also advertising the benefits of exercise would be good for the government.

  11. Jeong Won Jeong permalink
    May 23, 2017 9:51 am

    Basically I agree with the idea that the government should impose heavier taxes on unhealthy foods. However, criteria for this needs to be clearly presented. Still, the standards for ‘ unhealthy foods ‘ are so vague.

    The biggest reason is the social responsibility of the people’s health. Of course, companies can freely pursue their own interests. But corporations are simply trying to figure out what organizations are doing. In addition, while communicating socially, they seek benefits. Therefore, they are also responsible for social responsibility for the health of the people.
    Therefore, the government should impose responsibility on corporations by imposing heavier taxes on unhealthy foods produced by businesses.

    Also, there is something to be clarified. In broad terms, individual tastes such as ‘ candy ‘ or ‘ chocolates ‘ are unhealthy foods. However, they are basically not ‘unhealthy food’, and people eat them very often. So If taxes are imposed on these foods, individuals will feel burdened. Therefore, the government have to make clearly social criteria for ‘unhealthy food’. For example, Korean government impose very high taxes to tobacco which is unhealthy food of anyone’s perspective,

    Like this, If government present and reinforce the criteria for ” unhealthy food, ” the government is more clear about the social responsibility of the company, which is more clear by imposing taxes to ‘unhealthy food’.

  12. david permalink
    May 23, 2017 10:28 am

    Historically, there are a lot of arguments which is about neoliberalism and a welfare state. From these arguments people choose a form of country and role of the country is set. However, I advocate a welfare state. Because some people could not get perfect freedoms if he or she prefers to act like that. Therefore, country should assure people to get perfect freedom and future of country will be continued.

    From this paragraph which has been just outlined, I advocate the country should burden a tax on products that is very harmful to human. First reason is that some people do not know what perfect freedom is. Most of the companies want to make money by making products which might be harmful to human. From those products, therefore, detrimental proponents could go inside to human body. And human can contract some diseases which are cancer, diabetes, stoke, heart attack etc. however, people who have normal mental have instinct which is about survival. So, people want to live maximum life as far as possible. Therefore, country should make promise to for nation people to live longer. Second reason is permanency of country. Most of the developed countries choose a welfare state which gives a lot of advantages to normal people. However, if many people eat products that are really dangerous for health, those people will be died early or they need many costs to treat disease or buy medicine. Therefore, a lot of country which choose a welfare state will lose a lot of taxpayer or give extra money to people who contract disease. Essentially, countries’ budget will be cut down and primal social, public, for the aged welfare will be reduced. Therefore, those countries can not abide previous affluent mode.

    Overall, because of perfect freedom and permanency I agree that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health.

  13. baskinrobbins permalink
    May 23, 2017 10:52 am

    These days, people in the world have a serious problem about health and obesity. As more and more people are getting busy in daily life, they have little attention about their health and eat much fast food which is harmful for their bodies. With these problems, some people say that governments should charge a tax on products that are bad for health. However, there are some reasons that why governments should not charge a tax on products that are bad for health.
    First of all, people have a right to eat. We want to eat something not only when we are hungry, but also when we are in stress, or happy. By eating food, we feel happiness and joy. However, if governments have a restriction on these, people will be in rage and get depressed.
    In addition, people can handle their health by themselves. As people have a right to eat, they also have a right to handle their own health. By buying what they want, they can not only enjoy their food, but also can try to have a balance on their body. Although these foods are harmful for their health, it’s their right to own their body.
    Although some foods are bad for people’s health, governments don’t have a right to manage their health. With these reasons, governments should not charge a tax on products that are bad for health.

  14. future301 permalink
    May 23, 2017 10:56 am

    Nowadays in Korea, tax charged on cigarette is getting raised consistently, and many people are against of this policy. However, It is necessary to charge a tax on products that are bad for health.
    Firstly, it is their right to have something on themselves after they become to think rationally. But government should notify that these products are harmful and restrain having them at a minimum. Charging a tax could repress people from having harmful products by themselves. It will keep individuals’ rights of liberty and restrain them in a liberal way.
    Secondly, some products such as alcohol and cigarette have indirect harmful impact to other people who are not using them. In case of alcohol, there will be chance of drunken violence and it will torture other people. Also in case of cigarette, there will be a danger of secondhand smoke to unspecified public. So charging a tax on these products can restraint other people to be on a indirect peril of harmful products.
    Also, charging a tax for harmful products can be an important source of tax revenue. The government can use these taxes on helping who want to abstain from harmful products and many other ways.
    So, it is valid to charge a tax on harmful products.

  15. ELLA permalink
    May 23, 2017 10:59 am

     I disagree with this topic. I have three reasons of my opinion.

     First, none of appropriateness.
    I don’t like smoking, but I think charging tax on cigarette doesn’t have right reason for that.
    Charging tax on specific products can be interpreted as limitation on one’s liberty.

     Second, use of tax is not appropriate. Government say they use tax on harmful product for buyer’s health. But actually, percent age of use that tax for health is small. Government just take extra tax to use by harmful products.

    Third, none of effect. Tax on harmful products have pretext for decreasing purchase of that product. But as you can see in Korea’s cigarette price policy, it doesn’t have meaningful effect for decreasing that product’s use.

    For this reasons, I think tax on specific product is excessive and double charge.

  16. thebear03or04 permalink
    May 23, 2017 11:58 am

    I think to choose anything is depended only on consumer’s own thoughts. It looks like irresponsibility of governments, but our modern society is based on individual’s duty, not governments. Governments are busy enough to care about people who thrive to keep their health well. In modern society, the government’s only responsibility to nation‘s health is about infectious disease for whole national health condition. If the individual does not want, government must not to intervene to the life of consumer.

    • proftodd permalink*
      May 23, 2017 4:12 pm

      “I think to choose anything is depended only on consumer’s own thoughts.”

      As a consumer, could I buy nuclear weapons or anthrax?

      In the past, unscrupulous sellers used to prey upon unsuspecting and/or uninformed customers with unsafe food products. However, after enough people were killed or harmed, citizens demanded government help. The Food and Drug Administration was created so that experts could test products and keep citizens protected. Of course, the unscrupulous sellers suffered; being forced to sell safe food products reduced their profits.

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