A Soft Drink Tax According to John Stuart Mill Essay

The Coca-Cola trade name has built itself into a basic of American civilization. This is a terrorizing idea for public wellness advocators who see Coke and other soft drinks as being major perpetrators behind a turning national wellness crisis. Empirical grounds shows that over-consumption of soft drinks clearly causes injury to the persons who consume them. nevertheless. the waging conflict over soda statute law will non be won on the evidences of wellness entirely. The statement that Coca-Cola. Pepsi. and other soft drink houses present is profoundly rooted in American values and can non easy be trumped. What they argue for is freedom of pick.

In his book On Liberty. John Stuart Mill provinces. “over himself. over his ain organic structure and head. the person is sovereign” ( 9 ) . If an single chooses that he wants to imbibe soda dad. he should be allowed a high grade of autonomy to do that determination. Such is the foundation of a soft drink firm’s purported right to be. If consumers demand it. Coca-Cola executives will acquire as ruddy in the face as their sodium carbonate tins saying that they play an inexperienced person and critical function in carry throughing that demand. One method through which public wellness advocators wish to modulate soft drinks is in the execution of a soda revenue enhancement.

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Advocates for such a revenue enhancement may reason that persons who harm themselves by gorging in sodium carbonate should be limited in their ingestion. Since supply and demand are sensitive to market conditions. a revenue enhancement would doubtless take down the measure of sodium carbonate demanded. peculiarly in low-income households where fleshiness and diabetes are most common. Mill claims that “to revenue enhancement stimulations for the exclusive intent of doing them more hard to be obtained is a step differing merely in grade from their full prohibition. and would be justifiable merely if that were justifiable.

Every addition of cost is a prohibition to those whose agencies do non come up to the augmented monetary value ; and to those who do. it is a punishment laid on them for satisfying a peculiar taste” ( 99 ) . Soft drink houses would mention Mill here in their statement that individuals’ “choice of pleasances and their manner of using their income. after fulfilling their legal and moral duties to the State and to the persons. are their ain concern and must rest with their ain judgment” ( 99 ) .

While Mill’s line of concluding would look to talk against a soft drink revenue enhancement. he goes on to remind us that “taxation for financial intents is perfectly inevitable… It is therefore the responsibility of the State to see. in the infliction of revenue enhancements. what commodities the consumers can outdo spare… [ and ] to choose in penchant those of which it deems the usage. beyond a really moderate measure. to be positively injurious” ( 100 ) .

Bing that over-consumption of sodium carbonate dad is surely deleterious to the consumer. and particularly in visible radiation of the current economic downswing in this state. Mill would O.K. of a soft drink revenue enhancement as an effectual agencies through which to bring forth gross for the State. While a revenue enhancement on soft drinks would be allowable by Mill’s criterions. some advocates of soft drink statute law would travel so far as to censor their sale wholly. However. even if the huge bulk of the populace were motivated to enforce such a prohibition. Mill would waver to excuse such a terrible signifier of coercion.

The footing for Mill’s injury rule is that “the merely intent for which power can be truly exercised over any members of a civilised community. against his will. is to forestall injury to others” ( 9 ) . Although soft drink houses have a clear involvement in “promoting intemperance” ( 99 ) in order to bring forth net income. those houses will reason fierily that the ingestion of sodium carbonate is non such a great immorality that the State would be justified in “imposing limitations and necessitating warrants which… would be violations of legitimate liberty” ( 99 ) .

Therefore. in order to show a stronger statement for a prohibition on soft drinks. advocators would make good to turn out that in imbibing sodium carbonate dad. persons cause injury non merely to themselves. but besides to others. To devour soft drinks to the point of surplus can take to the impairment of an individual’s wellness. This may look to be a self-regarding action until one considers the cost such persons impose on taxpayers. Citizens whose unhealthy lifestyles on a regular basis land them in the infirmary eat up authorities wellness attention. at which point their actions cease to be self-regarding and go harmful to society at big.

With this in head. are we still to protect individuals’ autonomy to imbibe soda dad? Soft drink houses may indicate to Mill in reasoning that the answerability for such injury lies non with sodium carbonate. but with the society that raises gluttonous persons. If adult people are incapable of decently taking attention of themselves. society must see that it “has had absolute power over them during all the early part of their being ; it has had the whole period of childhood and minority in which to seek whether it could do them capable of rational behavior in life” ( 80 ) .

It is on this point that we must see the function that mass media dramas in the universe today. The pervasiveness of corporate advertisement in the U. S. manipulates children’s waxy modules of ground. overthrowing the ability of even responsible parents and pedagogues to leave rational ingestion wonts on their immature 1s.

Mill writes that he could non see how people could witness an act of self-harm and believe it “more good than hurtful. since. if it displays the misconduct. it displays besides the painful or degrading effects which. if the behavior is rightly censured. must be supposed to be in all or most instances attendant on it” ( 81 ) . This statement is undermined by the false belief of soft drink advertisement. which positively portrays the act of imbibing sodium carbonate without demoing the inauspicious long-run effects of its ingestion.

When a first jock endorses soda dad. susceptible consumers. peculiarly kids. are inclined to tie in soft drinks with hiting ends and diping hoopss instead than with malignant neoplastic disease and bosom disease. In reasoning against the proliferation of soft drinks. one should appeal to a cardinal constituent of Mill’s philosophy. which states that his injury rule does non use to “children or of immature individuals below the age which the jurisprudence may repair as that of manhood or muliebrity. Those who are still in a province to necessitate being taken attention of by others must be protected against their ain actions every bit good as against external injury” ( 9 ) .

In other words ; kids do non hold the adulthood to do rational. informed determinations that lead to actions that could potentially do them injury. for case. the act of guzzling down a 99 cent Coke. The American Beverage Association would repeat John Stuart Mill in stating that “human existences owe to each other aid to separate the better from the worse. and encouragement to take the former and avoid the latter” ( 74 ) . It is their statement that parents and pedagogues. non authorities. are responsible for detering kids to devour soft drinks.

Indeed. parents and pedagogues can organize a partnership in censoring the sale of soft drinks in schools. but it is beyond their power to forestall a non-responsible kid from seeing a deviously luring sodium carbonate ad on Television and irrationally taking to pass his or her allowance on sodium carbonate dad. Therefore. the State would be justified in modulating children’s entree to soft drinks by lawfully haling soft drink houses to stop their advertizements geared toward kids. every bit good as by enforcing a minimal age demand for the buying of soft drinks.