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who consumes the most resources in your family?
dad 18%
mom 0%
stepparent 0%
brother or sister 6%
uncle or aunt 0%
grandparent 6%
son 0%
daughter 0%
other 6%
yourself 62%

Votes: 16

 Philip Morris Is Right

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Aug 27, 2001
Philip Morris), purveyors of macaroni and cheese, disaster relief, and, most notably, tobacco products, recently got its PR tushy whupped, and was forced to apologize, after the release of a study of the Czech economy.

According to the study, available in MSWord here, the early death of smokers benefits the economy of a given nation-state. Not only do smokers pay additional taxes, which benefits all of us, but they die sooner than nonsmokers, forgoing the full enjoyment of the social services that these taxes provide. Philip Morris had planned similar studies for Slovenia, Hungary and Poland in an attempt to defend itself from excise taxes, but soon withdrew these plans.

"What horrid, callous thinking!" the liberals cry. "Right in character for a tobacco company," they smirk.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that Philip Morris is right. Among Republicans and, in the past administration, some Democrats, a few brave souls have shown that when people die, the living reap the benefits.


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Consider the American social security system, which will become so glutted with eligible seniors as the baby boomers retire that it will be soon begin paying out more than it takes in. The service was designed during the Johnson administration, when there were far more people paying into the system than benefits issued.

As the Social Security system matured, the medical system improved, and the methods of payment for medical services changed. An 80 year old could get an organ transplant, but only at considerable cost! Social Security and its Johnsonian twin, Medicare/Medicaid, both weathered the blows of increasing medical expenses and longer lives. As the Social Security Administration realized that the baby boomers were approaching retirement age, they created a trust fund that would build up money in preparation for the aging of these roustabout hippies.

This was a good idea, echoing Joseph's warning in the bible to prepare for the seven lean years during the seven fat ones. What we have to realize is that the Clinton and Bush administrations are like a Pharaoh that deliberately ignores Joseph's advice.

Bush decided to begin spending down that trust fund, slowly but surely. Bush's economic forecasters vastly overestimated this year's budget surplus. Combined with an economic slowdown and a huge tax cut, this mis-calculation will force Congress to spend the social security trust fund in the ordinary budget. This action almost defies political reason, since the Republicans have been warning the Democrats under Clinton not to do just that.

This decision, though, was powered not by anything so polite as politics, but by cold, scientific survival logic. It was meant to provoke a beneficial die off in the upcoming decades.

So is welfare reform. The Welfare Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act was passed during the height of the economic boom, when even the more liberal senators and representatives were being convinced that the New Economy meant an end to periodic crashes. That's why it puts a permanent time limit on lifetime welfare eligibility. Of course, this year, when we have the highest jobless rate in 9 years, the first welfare recipients will run up against the total benefits deadline. The only thing this could be doing is lowering the death deficit, easing the burden on welfare, Medicare, charity, and communities.

The need for a steady and proper death rate was first described crudely by Malthus. He states that the population must be kept to the means of subsistence; the amount of grain and meat that can be gotten must increase arithmetically, whereas the population increases geometrically.

Tractors, pesticides, weed killers, farm subsidies and other such innovations have produced a damn huge food surplus, and this many to dismiss Malthus, since there is, even today, enough food to feed the world a few times over.

However, a moment's thought as to the difficulty of redistributing the food resources to end all current famines leads us to the real areas in which Malthusian dynamics exist today.

To a certain extent, we are now dependent as a society on oil, satellites, dollars and medicines; truly, the West is the bad guy when it comes to rapidly consuming these crucial resources. And, what's more, the gap between richer and poorer nations (in terms of gross domestic product) continues to increase. Both production and some aspects of consumption (such as retail) are covered in the GDP; the bigger it gets, the more we are taking. If we look at Western use of oil and other limited resources which, although nonfood, are essential, we prove Malthus right in spades. Without the constant incoming capital provided by rapid growth of the economy, we can no longer afford to buy the resources which allow us to maintain our current standard of living.

That's where the death deficit comes in. Instead of doing something stupid -- retarding economic growth, robbing Peter to pay Paul by giving everyone a tax rebate, raising the minimum wage, instituting a real welfare state, etc., the policymaker can alter the death demographic. One way to do this is to ratchet back all this anti-aging research and specialty care, diminishing the healthcare aspects of the welfare state.With all the advances in medical science, the percentage of government services used per capita by the elderly around the world has increased. We've footed the bill for decades when some destitute senile grandpa is in a hospital and heroic measures are used to save him and the taxpayer pays for it, but now there are more elderly -- and more heroic measures available. The state should not pay for them for everyone.

One good model for the United States, if it chooses to thin out its herd, is Russia. Nearly everyone here smokes and drinks, sometimes resorting to cheap, adulterated vodka. Thus, the life expectancy has dropped to the 50's when, before the fall of the Wall, it was comparable to the United States. With the cash strapped government scrambling for bailouts nearly every year, the death of the elderly relieves not only the government but pension-providing corporations from their obligations. Money, when it's available, can properly be put into entrepreneurship activities.


Ideas (5.00 / 2) (#1)
by nx01 on Mon Aug 27th, 2001 at 06:59:11 PM PST
Perhaps we ought to pool ideas for population reduction?

To get the ball rolling, I'll post my idea.

I'd like to institute a program to introduce kids to smoking at a ripe age.

First, we need to drop the silly cigarette-age laws.

Then, around ten or so, the lunchroom workers would begin handing out mini-cigarettes called "CoolStix" (or some other age-appropriate name). They would contain approximately 1/4 the tobacco of normal cigarettes, to save on cost. God knows we wouldn't want to have to raise taxes to implement this program.

The program need only go on for a few years--perhaps the final three years of elementrary school? After that, the ungrateful bastards can go and buy their own. We could even sell them in the high schools!

Of course, the kids will need money. I suggest dropping child-labor laws. They place an unnecessary repression on the freedom of children, and are a holdover from the anal-retentive 50s.

This way, Americans will live shorter, and as a added bonus we will buy more cigarettes. Perhaps this will lead to some much-needed economic stability. The only way to know is to try!

"Every time I look at the X window system, it's so fucking stupid; and part of me feels responsible for the worst parts of it."
-- James Gosling

That's going to take too long (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 07:11:34 AM PST
Let's eliminate gun control, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), UL (Underwriters Laboratories), the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration). Now we're talking serious population reduction. And those who are left will have lower cost cars, food, healthcare, and electrical appliances. See, it's a good deal.

A song keeps going through my head (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 10:46:44 AM PST
John Lennon's "Imagine". :)

Imagine there's no bureaucracy
It's easy if you try
Nothing to stop you succeeding
No politicians to lie

happiness is a warm gun (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Aug 30th, 2001 at 01:21:36 AM PST

testing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by motherfuckin spork on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 07:52:06 AM PST
I've suggested in the past that we ought to eliminate "dead weight" by testing for IQ, talent, and common sense abilities. Those who fail are judged unfit to live, and are promptly dispatched. Those who are in a lower tier would be allowed to live in certain areas. Those of the upper echelon would be given full and free reign over their lives.

Other, less subjective tests could be used as well. Such as in driving, failure to use a turn signal should be a instant death penalty, likewise for throwing trash out of the window. Simple things like this could easily weed out certain unwanted sections of the populace at large.

I am not who you think I am.

how are you dispatching of them (none / 0) (#9)
by alprazolam on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 08:08:32 AM PST
it wouldn't be cheap you know. until a practical solution to killing of large numbers of people is devised, this is all just hot air.

methodology (none / 0) (#13)
by motherfuckin spork on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 09:39:51 AM PST
well, one thought was to take some of the passing upper eschelon, and deputise them, allowing them to choose the way of ridding humanity of the dredges. Perhaps equipping them with firearms would work, but the bodies would pile up if not disposed of properly.

Perhaps the bottom feeders could be used to stoke the fires of power plants, thus making their elimination a doubly-useful thing by supplying power to those who remain?

I am not who you think I am.

Ooooh, instant results. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by nx01 on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 09:20:06 AM PST
I like it!

"Every time I look at the X window system, it's so fucking stupid; and part of me feels responsible for the worst parts of it."
-- James Gosling

actually true... (none / 0) (#2)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Aug 27th, 2001 at 07:13:30 PM PST
...sort of. The black plague in Europe is widely credited for thinning the population to the point where the ones left could stand out and really help push society forward.

Of course, the problem with cigarettes is that people don't help the economy, because the *do* use social services. When Mr. Joe Camel gets lung cancer and has $100,000 of medical bills paid by medicare, that is not helping the economy.

Of course, logic would dictate that we do away with socialized medicine, thus once again making cigarette deaths a net plus for the economy.

No need to get rid of socialised medicine (none / 0) (#3)
by eWulf on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 12:57:29 AM PST
Just tax cigarettes like they do here in the UK (currently about $6.60 US for 20). That way cigarette smokers pay for their own medical care many times over and everyones a winner. Besides which, if you're going to tax smoking why isn't there a tax on twinkies (I think that's the word?) to pay for all the fat-asses heart disease treatment.

Isn't that added to the GNP? (none / 0) (#4)
by elenchos on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 01:03:31 AM PST
All health care services performed, for whatever reason, are added to the GNP. So that $100,000 in medical bills is a hundred grand of medical goods and services bought and paid for. Had the guy not gotten sick, that would be $100,000 that would not have been added to the GNP, and therefore without it we would be a poorer nation.

So what is the problem?

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

that makes little sense (none / 0) (#5)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 05:45:53 AM PST
The black plague in Europe is widely credited for thinning the population to the point where the ones left could stand out

What good fortune that the ones left standing were precisely not the ones not worth thinning.

re: worth thinning (none / 0) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 09:56:13 AM PST
Thankfully they are. Or rather, that's what they become. It's the same as how only small groups of animals will evolve. Large ones are too stable. They get lazy, weak, then finally a bunch die off and rapid evolution occurred.

That's basically what happened, on a technological level, after the plague. I mean, think if half the people in the US died right now. You'd have no problem getting a house, a nice car, a big screen TV, etc. Then you start forming a new society/government, because the old one is gone. And the new one is better/more efficient.

In complete agreement (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by lowapproach on Fri Aug 31st, 2001 at 05:24:36 AM PST
That the French survived as a culture and a nation is the strongest argument against the possible Darwinian benefits of the Black Plague.

The real benefits of a European population lacking in personal hygiene [an area in which some parts of today's Europe have not advanced far; see France] and immune to the badass germs they carried were not realized until they came to the New World, beginning the process anew. Had Pizarro not exhaled, sweated and excreted pure Inca-killing contagion, he and his doughty band might never have made this continent safe for the Europeans lucky enough to escape their own.

actually... (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 05:00:54 PM PST
Actually the black plague is still raging in full force in Europe. Not as bad as in the US, but around my neighbourhood they are bringing them in by the truckloads. Used to be nice to go out at night, now there's lots of crime and the property value is going to the dumps,and you have to listen to fucking rap all the time. Oh, that black plague, why doesn't anybody do a thing about it ? Wasn't biotech supposed to take care of this ?

This study isn't complete (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 07:36:43 AM PST
This study is incomplete because it does not take into account and cannot possibly measure the worth of people to society had they not died.

there are formulas to do that (none / 0) (#10)
by alprazolam on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 08:13:20 AM PST
basically you count up the remaining years they had left to work, make an estimate of their hourly pay based on education and class, and get an answer. there's some other stuff added in to make it more accurate of course, but that's your basic formula.

Nobody is saying they are wrong... (none / 0) (#11)
by Wiggy on Tue Aug 28th, 2001 at 09:19:54 AM PST
I don't think there is much argument that what Philip Morris reported is accurate. What I find objectionable is the bad taste this is done in. Not only did they not seem to have any problems with their conclusions, they were contradictory to what they had previously claimed with regards tobacco.

I have no problem with their report - just their attitudes that the presentation of it betrayed.

Son/daughter, but no "spouse/sig. other" (none / 0) (#19)
by geekplus on Fri Aug 31st, 2001 at 07:14:25 AM PST
Come on!

They Give them to children in the Czech Republic. (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Sep 4th, 2001 at 04:37:48 PM PST
The article says, "Smoking rates in the Czech Republic are above average but declining"

This isn't surprising one bit, there are Camel/Marlboro girls in every bar and street corner handing out free cigarettes to passerbys in the capitol city of Prague.

There's no smoking age I noticed, they give the cigarettes out to the youngest person that will reach for them.

Of course, only the first one is free - just like any other drug.
Joseph Elwell.


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