McDonalds refuses to use it, yet public schools feed it to your children

Headline from USA Today: 'Pink slime' eliminated from fast food, but not school lunches.
Boy, I wonder what people would say if schools were purely privatized and they behaved in this way? Absolute, irrefutable proof we need government-run schools! When government-run schools operate in a way that society rightfully thinks is appalling, the reaction is just deafening silence.
Incidentally, ALL red meat increases your chance of dying.
So.....if we outlaw smoking because 2nd hand smoke increases your chances of dying, naturally government should outlaw ALL red meat, right? Obviously I am just demonstrating the absurd premise that government should have the authority to keep people safe, and consequently outlaw or forcibly prevent people from doing things that are determined to be unsafe. In a disturbingly ironic twist, this same, so-called "safety first!" government, instead feeds 7 million pounds of slime so gross McDonald's won't even touch it, to our children.

I’m shifting goals from getting people to embrace libertarianism to just acknowledging how unscientific and comically absurd the bias in conversations comparing government to free market are. It is never really a comparison of the pros and cons of each, but instead the anti-free market side merely attempts to illustrate that freedom would not result in a utopia. Upon successful demonstration of this, they feel more comfortable in dismissing libertarianism as the irrefutably superior political theory that is clearly is.

Sorry for the rant, the serving of ‘pink slime’ to children that has a higher risk of containing E.Coli than not such a disgusting, low-quality form of meat, is one of those things that is just so repulsive, it’s hard to contain myself!
If you are as horrified at the failure of public schools as I am, I implore you to read this fantastic paper by the brilliant Jane Shaw, Education - a Bad Public Good?

Update: A Yahoo news story adds the following:
Others are not convinced. McDonald's, Taco Bell and Burger King announced earlier this month they were going to discontinue using the product in their food. The U.K. has banned it for human consumption.
How did the media found out about the product?
Two former USDA scientists have publicly decried the use of pink slime, according to the New York Times. Carl S. Custer and Gerald Zernstein have at turns called the product "a cheap substitute" and "not nutritionally equivalent," to regular beef.

This is such a perfect illustration of why government is the worst possible method to provide vital goods and services, such as education. Bureaucracies do not operate under the profit/loss test, and as such, have much weaker incentives to provide their customers with high quality products, than do their free market counterparts. The fast food restaurants listed in the Yahoo news story are not exactly known for their elite, high-quality food products.
Yet, even they decide to opt out of using this disgusting, low-grade meat, precisely because they are motivated by profit. Or greed, if you prefer. And as such, using a product that increases the chance of food poisoning, is of lower quality, etc. exposes them to potential financial losses. The cost of causing food poisoning is obvious, as far as the lower quality product, we see how public perception or demand is significantly more influential on determining their actions, than it is on affecting the behavior of government. (Ironic that it is government which claims to “serve” the public!)
Namely, the fast food companies stand to lose business if other companies decide to stop using the pink slime meat “in order to better serve their customers”. This creates a dynamic where the firms are responsive to consumer demands in a way bureaucracy is incapable of. Even ignoring the legitimate health and quality concerns, merely the public perception that using pink slime meat is unacceptable, results in the firms responding accordingly. Naturally, the USDA is immune from all these concerns and gets paid via taxation, regardless.


  1. Fantastic post! I really enjoyed the example setting apart market actors and bureaucracies.

  2. Awesome Post Roert! I added you to my blogroll, followed, and linked to the story at oakparkrepublic.com

    Please feel free to return the favor :-)