China Announces Authoritarian Campaign To Combat Food Waste

Despite the campaign's supposed focus, it appears to be a response to food shortages.


Earlier this month, Chinese ruler Xi Jinping declared war on food waste. "Waste is shameful and thriftiness is honorable," Xi said, calling for a combination of "legislation, supervision, and long-term measures" to rein in waste under a "Clean Plate Campaign." Xi also warned China was facing a "crisis" of food security.

China's national legislature is expected to introduce a series of anti-food waste laws soon. If early steps are any indication, the campaign is likely to trample on individual rights.

Food waste, as I explain in my book Biting the Hands that Feed Us—quoting a U.N. report—refers to "food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still does not get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil."

It's a remarkably and troublingly common problem across the globe. Roughly 40% of the food Americans produce goes to waste. Food security, on the other hand, refers to a person's access to sufficient food.

China has generally been considered to be food-secure—roughly on par with Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Argentina. But food waste is a massive problem in the country. "Chinese cities produce 25 percent of the world's municipal solid waste, most of it food," reported in April. It's also a problem the government has been combating for several years. 

Reports suggest several factors have contributed to China's mushrooming food-waste crisis, including supply-chain disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, trade tensions, low food prices that discourage future plantings, overreliance on imported food, and devastating floods that have inundated cropland in the country. Other reports cite additional factors, from droughts and pestilence to higher grain prices.

Given that most of these factors have little or nothing to do with waste, I wonder if the "Clean Plate Campaign" is really about fighting food waste, or it's instead a response to growing food insecurity in the country? China expert Gordon Chang tweeted last week that Xi's campaign signaled that China "is facing a severe food shortage." And a tweet this week from a Hong Kong pro-democracy group claimed China has banned use of words such as "hunger" and "starving" from its anti-food waste campaign.

We should fight food waste. Decomposing food waste releases billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year. And that's just one part of the problem.

"Consider that food that goes to waste still used all of the resources needed to produce the food—including any combination of water and fertilizer (to grow crops), pesticides (to keep them free of pests), farmland (often converted from wildlands and tilled, both of which release stored carbon), and oil (to power plows and harvesters)," I explain in Biting the Hands that Feed Us. "Those resources are all used up whether a food is eaten or is left to rot in a field or landfill."

Thankfully, there are countless ways to reduce food waste—most of which don't require government to do more. For example, if we were to stop using taxpayer funds to subsidize farmers to grow way more food than consumers demand, we'd save money and waste less food.

Private efforts to fight food waste—some "highly profitable"—already exist in China. But rather than expanding those efforts, Xi sees more government as the answer.

To be fair, some changes enacted in the wake of Xi's announcement, such as renewed efforts to encourage diners to take their leftovers home, are smart and relatively nonintrusive.

But others are anything but. Spurred by Xi's plan and criticism from state media, for example, China's tightly monitored media outlets, including social media giant Sina Weibo, have vowed to crack down on food programming that shows "excessive eating and drinking," including ones that feature actual or feigned competitive eating.

Elsewhere, at least one restaurant in China has drawn customers' ire by placing scales near its entrance and urging "diners to weigh themselves and then order food accordingly." The restaurant, which had "recommended that women under 40kg (90lbs) should order no more than two dishes—with suggestions including sautéed beef and steamed fish head—while men weighing 70-80kg could have up to three" dishes, was forced to reverse course after a backlash.

But those women and men who could order up to two or three dishes might be the lucky ones. Since Xi's announcement, many restaurants have urged consumers to order one fewer dish than the number of people seated at a table. So, for example, four diners eating together should share three dishes. (Solo diners might be out of luck.) One local government agency took Xi's guidance to heart, vowing to "establish a frugal consumption reminder system" and "supervise consumers to eat frugally." Sounds lovely. Food-delivery services are also urging customers to order smaller portion sizes. One hotel restaurant is fining diners who waste food from the restaurant buffet.

Critics of Xi's plans, The Guardian reported, were quick to push back against the new guidelines, with many urging government officials and other wealthy diners to put up or shut up.

Some critics of the plan, reports CGTN, "are calling for boundaries to the campaign, asking if leftovers at restaurants are really such a crime."

The South China Morning Post reported this week that another obstacle Xi's plan faces is "long-held attitudes towards entertaining" in China, where sharing a bounty with guests is considered "a symbol of hospitality and social standing."

Still, China's crackdown does have its supporters. One self-avowed Marxist chided The Guardian for expressing mild discomfort about China's oppressive anti-food waste campaign.

Food waste is a problem around the world. Combating it must be a goal. But achieving that goal shouldn't come at the expense of individual rights—in China or anywhere else.

NEXT: Why Does Hollywood Hate Real Estate Developers?

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  1. “If early steps are any indication, the campaign is likely to trample on individual rights.”

    What are these ‘individual rights’ in Communist China of which you speak?

    1. “What are these ‘individual rights’ in Communist China of which you speak?”

      The cherished right of every Chinese man, woman and child to participate in hot dog eating contests is under threat.

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      2. I prefer watching feigned competitive fish head eating contests, thank you very much!

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    2. China is extremely anti-LGBQT, and censors associated media accordingly.

      1. “China is extremely anti-LGBQT”

        Are you referring to the people, the government or the crockery?

        1. Both of them. You didn’t know that?

          1. I once had a cup that was anti semitic.

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  2. I think I’ll look again into composting. Ever since my dog died I have no place to put my leftovers but the garbage.

    1. Start with the dog.

      1. Start by composting Marxists, so much better for the environment and the rats will avoid your place when they smell their brethren rotting nearby.

        Why am I not surprised this article was a shitfest; it was written by a lawyer. What is this crap doing on a libertarian website? (Oh wait, I forgot… Reason has ditched its principles to court the left.)

        Food waste should be a personal matter; leave the government out of it. It should never be something for which people get arrested yet, it will be if the government is allowed a say in it.

        It’s no surprise that Nazi China is in favor of it. Luckily for those at the top, Nazi China is so corrupt that the apparatchiks will never have to worry about how much food they waste.

    2. Careful about composting cooked food unless you want to attract rodents.

      1. I live on 10 acres in the middle of several hundred acres of nowhere. Rodents are built-in. But the three 5-foot rat snakes at home in my basement before I evicted them seemed to have significantly cut down on the mouse population. Now I rely on this cat that someone dropped off on my lane.

        1. This is starting sound like a Stephen King novel. There is no Mrs. Fist, is there?

          1. Perhaps Mrs. Fist has scales.

        2. When I had a compost, it kept getting raided by rats. So I placed some rat traps around it and ended up killing a lot of rats. Yeah, composts are a pain in the ass. Don’t get rid of your rat snakes. They are harmless and super beneficial.

          1. I was okay with them hanging around but the shed skin in the rafters of my basement and the slithering into my chicken coop was the last straw. They’re gone.

            Luckily I don’t have rats, only mice. And opossums. And groundhogs. And raccoons. And coyote. And foxes. And bears.

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    3. If you’re looking to cut down on methane and CO2, composting increases both. I suggest buy a feeder pig, they’re cheap, and they’re omnivores. Feed your scraps to them. And when they’re large enough, viola, bacon. Chickens and turkeys can also eat some food scraps. Also, manure and chicken waste is great for your garden.
      As an aside, I notice they focused only on subsidies as a way to reduce food waste. It used to be grocery stores and restaurants would sell their food waste to dairies, feed lots and pig farms, but in many locations this has been banned by regulations. As a ruminant nutritionist, this is a tragedy, as we can use that spoiled food to make more food, cheaply, and produce fewer GHG than throwing it away or composting it.

      1. “I suggest buy a feeder pig, they’re cheap, and they’re omnivores. Feed your scraps to them.”

        If your aim is to enrich your soil, make a place where earthworms can thrive etc. forget the pigs (which can be smelly, noisy and demanding creatures) and stick with composting,

        If your aim is to feed animals, then there are probably stray dogs about that would appreciate a few of your table scraps.

        1. I could explain what is wrong with your statement, but why bother, you wouldn’t understand anyhow.

        2. Earthworms love manure, so that covers keeping earthworms happy. Also, I am not looking for something to feed, I am recycling the food by feeding it to livestock, which then produces more energy, protein dense (far more energy and protein, and most vitamins, and iron and other minerals kilogram for kilogram than any vegetable, and the nutrients are more bioavailable) food for humans to consume. Pigs are great and poultry have one of the best feed to gain ratios of any domesticated species. Only farmed fish (and they really aren’t domesticated) have better feed to gain ratios.

          1. “Earthworms love manure,”

            I don’t like pig manure because of the smell. Composting is much simpler than raising pigs, besides. It requires very little effort.

            1. Did anyone ask what you liked? Ny advice was for fist. And if you are doing it right, composting requires turning it over frequently.

              1. “And if you are doing it right, composting requires turning it over frequently.”

                That’s true and there are a few other things that must be taken care of. Pigs are a huge commitment in comparison.

                1. Not really as long as you have a good holding pen. Muck it out a couple times a week, and feed and water them daily.

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          2. It’s mtrueman and his usual one-dimensional stupidity. If he’d built and managed the engineering of the the automobile, we’d all get 100 mpg but have no lights and no environmental controls.

            You can raise 1-2 feeder pigs and/or 3-4 chickens to market weight in the time it takes just to make compost via hot composting methods. The whole point of composting is to do what the pig’s guts do automatically. If you wanted to compost as fast as possible, you’d essentially recreate a pig’s digetive tract and *then* you’d *start* to grow food for yourself.

            1. Yeah. Pretty much. Feeding food scraps to livestock is far more efficient than composting it.

      2. I do feed some to m chickens but I don’t have a lot and for some stupid reason there are some things they won’t eat. I was thinking about composting their waste with scraps and make something for my city-dweller brother’s garden.

        1. there are some things they won’t eat.


  3. OMG! Major new Drumpf scandal!

    Am I the only one who thought it was weird that President Trump used the White House—federal property—for the private funeral of his brother?

    This is clearly a misappropriation of government resources. I demand an independent investigation. Is Robert Mueller available?


    1. There have been 18 weddings too.

      Posthumous impeachments for everyone.

  4. Well it was a new fad sweeping the nation.

  5. at least one restaurant in China has drawn customers’ ire by placing scales near its entrance and urging “diners to weigh themselves and then order food accordingly.”

    Just weight, er, wait until the US starts taxing “excessive” body mass.

    1. According to the Italian grandmother school of thought that could lead to all of the skinny or even regular sized people buying extra food out of the fear of being too thin

    2. Can’t do that, it would be racist

  6. It’s absolutely shameful how many stray dogs and cats are roaming around in China, and we won’t even mention the number of rats, bats, pangolins, snakes, cockroaches, crickets, beetles, owls, moles, voles, and orphans running around loose.

    1. Hey, Virus Lives Matter!

      1. What do you suppose they’re doing with the leftover bits of Uighurs when they’re done harvesting their organs? Lot of good meat left on those carcasses.

    2. and orphans running around loose.
      Un-caged orphans… my God. Imagine all those innocent, unpolished monocles!

      1. We call them “free range”

  7. So wait a minute. Food insecurity, when people might not have what they want to eat at hand, is bad. But waste, when people have too much food at hand, is bad. Do you really think a perfect, just-in-time food distribution system from farmer to eater is possible? And if not, do you prefer a system in which we throw away some food but feel secure, or a system where we might not get what we want to eat, but feel smug about avoiding waste?

    1. ” Do you really think a perfect, just-in-time food distribution system from farmer to eater is possible?”

      I don’t know about perfect, but doesn’t it stand to reason that the less food that goes to waste, the cheaper the food is? Growing, transporting, packaging food that goes to waste costs money. So does disposing of waste food.

      1. The higher the volume produced, the lower per unit cost.

        1. I don’t see the advantage in paying for food that you’re throwing away. Especially if you have to pay your garbage person to haul it away.

          1. Because you don’t understand volume of production, supply and demand etc. Also, as I’ve pointed out in the past, you don’t understand the first thing about agriculture.
            About the only way to make money growing staple crops, with commodity prices being what they are (not sure where the author gets the idea grain prices are high, my farming friends would love if it was true, but right now they are hovering right around average break even prices) is to produce the most volume and the least land possible. Or to get into a niche market (albeit most organic growers end up going back to conventional because they find out it is far more difficult, produces less, takes far more time, uses more fuel, and the profit margin isn’t nearly as large as they were lead to believe).

            1. I understand how waste is incentivized through the system you outline. It’s a free market system and the incentives that lead to waste are baked in. I read that some 30% of food produced winds up not being eaten, which seems an awfully high figure to me. Perhaps the communists can arrange things so that less food waste is produced.

              1. Yeah, they will just stop feeding people. Because Communist are so known for their altruism.

                1. ” Because Communist are so known for their altruism.”

                  Perhaps in America. In China, communists are known for their seriousness and their willingness to resort to violence.

                  1. You obviously don’t understand sarcasm either.

                    1. In all seriousness, sarcasm is a very blunt instrument in your hands. You could do well to learn from how I use it.

                    2. No you don’t use sarcasm you’re just amendacious sophomoric troll.

    2. It’s people like you what cause unrest.

    3. In the automotive industry, we call “just in time” inventory systems, “just too late”.

      I think I prefer a system in which we throw away some food and actually ARE secure. Certainly I prefer it to one with no cushion, where people go hungry whenever things don’t work properly.

  8. Food waste may be a problem but the claim that “decomposing food waste releases billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere” is just stupid. That food will be equally turned into methane and carbon dioxide by the digestive process whether it’s digested by a human or by the microbes in a landfill.

    And before you object that ‘we could not grow the wasted food in the first place’, remember that taking acreage out of food production just means that you will have grasses, weeds, flowers and trees growing there instead – and they will go through the identical cycle of growth, death and decay as food plants. The net change to greenhouse gases is precisely zero.

    There are lots of good reasons to minimize food waste. Greenhouse gases are not among them.

    1. It may be a small difference, but by and large the wild grasses and weeds will decompose aerobically, rather than to methane. To the extent greenhouse gases are a problem, CO2 is less of one than CH4.

      1. Wild grasses and weeds typically don’t need to be fertilized, harvested and transported with equipment like trucks and tractors.

      2. Just a heads up, people: the above message was not approved by the Ministry of Science. Please consult with the UN or nearest PAC for the Truth. Thank you.

      3. I will grant that food waste is a bit more likely to end up in big anaerobic piles. (I do not concede that the decomposition depends on the plant type. Farmers, for example, routinely grasses decompose anaerobically to create silage.) But the difference is miniscule. The amount of methane from such decomposition is small and is itself a food source for certain microorganisms that continue the decomposition to CO2 and water.

        1. Ensiling is not decomposition. Ensiling is utilizing organic acids, produced by anaerobic fermentation to preserve forages.

        2. Decomposition is aerobic not anaerobic. Also, composting is, when properly done, an aerobic process. If you don’t turn it over periodically, it doesn’t break down and doesn’t decompose.

    2. “There are lots of good reasons to minimize food waste. Greenhouse gases are not among them.”

      I think it’s Vaclav Smil who points out that modern agriculture is essentially transforming fossil fuels to food.

    3. No, it wouldn’t be turned into an equal amount of methane and CO2. A significant portion of the carbon will be absorbed during digestion, as sugars, fats, and amino acids. Sorry, that’s just the truth.

      1. Your stopping the analysis too soon, soldiermedic. Yes, digestion will sequester some carbon as sugars, fats, etc. You will then exercise, turning those sugars, fats and amino acids back into CO2, water and energy. All you do by storing it in your body is delay the cycle a tiny bit.

        A very small fraction of what you eat will be sequestered in materials that are not immediately burned for energy. But even you will eventually die, decompose and those carbons again are released to the environment. Unless you’re going to have your body shot into space, the terrestrial carbon budget is balanced.

        1. Sorry, should be “You’re stopping…” Can we please have an edit button?

        2. Maybe the fats and sugars, but the proteins will either be used to make muscles or hormones. And some of the lipids will be used to make hormones as well. Yes, it all will eventually be utilized, but the cycle is longer than from composting.

          1. You’re still stopping your analysis too short. The other way to think about it is that microbes also create sugars, fats, proteins and their equivalents as they “rot” the food. Whether you eat it or the microbes eat it, it’s the same digestive process. And on a geologic scale, the cycle time is indistinguishable. You’re talking a sequestration on the scale of days or weeks at most. That has zero measurable impact on net greenhouse gases.

            1. Thinking about it more, it’s not even going to be a sequestration of days or weeks. The average life of a microbe is approximately the same as the average life of an individual cell in a human body. That means zero incremental sequestration.

              1. Microbes don’t store, nor recycle, our cells do both. Also, expiration is not the main process for eliminating carbon, feces is, which again serves the same function as composting. So basically, you get some carbon sequestration from storage and recycling of hormones, lipids, proteins, enzymes, tissues such as skin and bones, etc and then, when that is utilized, it is eliminated as waste, where some of it is taken up by the soil. In composting, you release it into the air, and some is taken up by the soil. You are missing about five steps in composting compared to digestion. Also, depending on work and environmental conditions muscles and adipose tissue turnover can be from days, to months, to years. And the carbon fed to livestock is then harvested, and used to make numerous other products, not just food, but tons of industrial goods, additionally adding another period of carbon sequestration. And comparing the Earth balance is stupid. Carbon loss is fairly insignificant, and we don’t create new carbon (very often). The balance is basically unchanged, it is the manner in which it is stored and or utilized that changes.

  9. I think I’ll look again into composting. Ever since my dog died I have no place to put my leftovers but the garbage.

  10. “One self-avowed Marxist”

    So, a guy who supports one of the few movements WORSE than Nazism speaks…

  11. The Chinese are also getting ready for more of a Cold War style confrontation with the West than they’ve had lately.

    Emperor Xi doesn’t want China’s economy to be so dependent on exports anymore, and it shouldn’t surprise us to find out that he doesn’t want China’s economy to depend on imports either.

    The less food waste there is, the less food China needs to import.

    1. “China’s will face an increasingly hostile world over the next five years, meaning its policy plan should be focused on its vast domestic market, home-grown technological innovation and improving its citizens’ welfare, according to recommendations in a new paper.

      . . . .

      A common point in the debate is that the lessons of the past few years have shown the need to be more self-reliant. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the US-China trade war and the growing superpower rivalry have made many think that Beijing can no longer rely on the goodwill of trading partners to continue the expansion it has enjoyed since the late-1970s.”

      The more a country profits from trade, the more they need to take their trading partners considerations into account when they make policy. China doesn’t want to take our considerations into account, so they’re gearing up to profit less from exports to the United States.

    2. Have you been paying attention to what’s going on in North Korea with the government seizing household pets? Have you been paying attention to the weather in China? I don’t think it’s just a matter of trying to transition away from imports, China’s economy is in the shitter and a good chunk of their agricultural output has just been washed out to sea – I think China’s looking at famine conditions coming down the pike.

      1. Yeah, the west wasn’t buying their exports for a while, there, but their economy is not in the shitter per se. Their GDP was at around 6% before the virus, it was -6.8% for the Q1 of 2020, and it bounced back in Q2 at positive 3.2%. No doubt, idled workers were and are hurting, but in the shitter? If the U.S. grew at 3.2%, we would be thrilled.

        Have you seen the way China has been stockpiling oil for the last few months?

        The report from the article below (as of a couple of weeks ago) says that at least 80 tankers have been waiting for more than a month to unload their oil in China.

        Their economy has slowed down, but they don’t want to be so dependent on international trade anymore–and they’re shoring up their economy to make it less dependent on trade with the United States and the rest of the world. They’re trying to become as self-sustaining without international trade as they can because those trade advantages probably won’t be the same in the future as they have been in the past. And they don’t want their economy to be so dependent on trade partners that are critical of the way they do things.

        Incidentally, drawing them into precisely that kind of position was one of the goals of trade at the end of the Cold War and letting them into the WTO. The Chinese government holds more than $1 trillion in U.S. debt–how’s that for interdependent? To the extent that they are concerned with our opinions, it’s to the extent that they benefit from our trade relationship. Part of the reason Emperor Xi is weaning China off of that trade is because he doesn’t want to feel compelled to take our concerns into consideration.

        The other part is that China’s growth being fed by international trade is unsustainable. Their GDP growth has been slowing down for years as all the easy fruit from cheap labor has already been picked. They were at 11%+ GDP growth circa 2011. Around 8% in 2016, and they were at 6% before the virus. They’re running into the law of declining returns on the export economy plan, especially as automation continues to become a less expensive substitute for cheap labor.

        And the emperor doesn’t want the economy to get in the way of his strategic plans anyway.

        So they’re doing things like trying to force people to not waste food and buying up all the oil they can and putting it in storage.

        1. Sadly, going with how N Korea approached self reliance, you can expect even more IP theft.

          1. Yeah, they’re probably going for more of a ‘what’s yours is mine’ vibe rather than rugged individualism.

        2. The internal market in China is more than big enough to sustain itself. They have more middle class citizens than the US has total people.

          The only thing that can keep that from growing is….. government intervention.

    3. China is investing a lot of money in its belt and road initiative, integrating economically a good part of of the continent including Europe, eventually. They are planning for increased trade.

      This food waste campaign may be nothing more than a cudgel the central party intends to wield against corrupt or incompetent local authorities.

      1. Oh, the LOCAL authorities are the incompetent or corrupt ones. Got it.

        1. Party central tries to keep the locals in line. Not the other way around.

          1. No, Party Central are corrupt shitbags TOO. There is no difference in them. Much like how local Soviet government officials were corrupt, but not more than the Central Committee was.

            1. “There is no difference in them.”

              Sure there is. It’s called hierarchy. It makes all the difference in the world. But you know that. Why the pose?

    4. “The less food waste there is, the less food China needs to import.”

      Hitler, Xi and Kim; hmm what else do they have in common?

      1. Xi considers himself a modern Mao. Mao tried to make China self sufficient in agriculture too. Wonder if Xi has studied how that worked out? About the same way as Stalin’s foray into trying to make Soviet agriculture more productive.

        1. “Mao tried to make China self sufficient in agriculture too. Wonder if Xi has studied how that worked out? ”

          It worked out pretty well for Mao. Unlike the Bolsheviks, Mao looked to the peasants as his base of support. A lot of Chinese communists in the early years were trying to follow the Bolsheviks, concentrating on winning over urban workers.

          By the way, I don’t think China at any period of her history has relied on food imports. Mao’s obsession with self sufficiency was about his program of break neck industrialization, which didn’t extend to agriculture, as you can see it still today, it’s often extremely primitive. It was Stalin who was put equal emphasis on tractors, and forcing them on farmers, as tanks.

          1. It also includes agriculture and resulted in thousands of people starving to death and extensive environmental damage. God you are completely clueless.

            1. You missed a decimal there. Millions starved to death.

            2. “It also includes agriculture and resulted in thousands of people starving to death and extensive environmental damage.”

              And yet the peasants of China still revere Mao almost as a deity. It’s hard to believe, I know, but once Americans are allowed to travel internationally again, you should go and check for yourself. The only people I heard criticizing Mao in China were English speaking urbanites and intellectuals.

              1. North Koreans think the Kim family are Gods. I guess they’re doing something right then. :rolleyes:

                1. “I guess they’re doing something right then.”

                  They were smart to be born Korean. The nation – north and south – has this fierce underdog pull together thing going. Dictators and autocrats have a kind of head start when it comes to Korea that they don’t have in more fragmented, individualistic cultures like America.

              2. So? They are taught from day one to revere him and the histories are whitewashed to cover his atrocities. That is just proof of how good the CCP is at brainwashing the peasants.

                1. “So? They are taught from day one to revere him and the histories are whitewashed to cover his atrocities. ”

                  That was true during the cultural revolution. In the 80s, the capitalist roaders right wing faction of the party took over and Mao’s error are well known.

                  “That is just proof of how good the CCP is at brainwashing the peasants.”

                  Just how many peasants had you spoken to before arriving at that conclusion? You have no idea what you are talking about and are just parroting what you’ve heard on TV. I’ve seen you do it before.

                  1. Says the person parroting the greatness of China’s communist party.

                    1. It’s clear you have no idea what you are talking about and are not about to start heeding the words of those who do.

                    2. How much is the CCP paying you?

  12. Xi sees more government as the answer.

    What is he, a Communist?

    Combating it must be a goal.

    Solid column, but the use of the passive here– extremely common in Reason columns– is just enraging. Whose goal must it be? It already is my personal goal. I try to make it the goal of everyone in my household. But if you think I’m going to sign on to making food waste reduction a *collective* goal– fuck off, slaver.

    You’re about individual rights and responsibilities. That’s the heart of libertarianism. Don’t go commingling those with collective power or obligations.

  13. Waste is shameful! Just think of all those starving kids in China!

  14. Weibo, have vowed to crack down on food programming that shows “excessive eating and drinking,” including ones that feature actual or feigned competitive eating.

    You know what other social media giant vowed to ‘crack down’ on behaviors the government didn’t like?

    1. The Völkischer Beobachter?

    2. I’m sure they’re bringing their social credit system to bear on this.

      “The credit system is closely related to China’s mass surveillance systems such as Skynet,[19][20][21] which incorporates facial recognition system, big data analysis technology, AI and Project Maven.

      . . . .

      in addition to dishonest and fraudulent financial behavior, other behavior that some cities have officially listed as negative factors of credit ratings includes playing loud music or eating in rapid transits,[31] violating traffic rules such as jaywalking and red-light violations,[32][33] making reservations at restaurants or hotels but not showing up,[34] failing to correctly sort personal waste,[35][36][37] fraudulently using other people’s public transportation ID cards,[38] etc; on the other hand, behavior listed as positive factors of credit ratings includes donating blood, donating to charity, volunteering for community services, and so on.

      The article goes on to explain that some 27 million airplane tickets have been rejected to purchasers for failing to have the necessary social credit. They’re denied the purchase of 6 million high speed rail tickets. The children of people without enough social credit are banned from various schools and universities. People with high social credit get better service in hospitals, are more likely to be hired in government jobs, etc.

      It’s a progressive paradise. American progressives would love to be able to do that kind of shit to people who waste electricity, don’t carpool, etc.

      Anyway, if the CCP put people who eat too much on the list of social debits, that wouldn’t be surprising.

      1. “Anyway, if the CCP put people who eat too much on the list of social debits, that wouldn’t be surprising.”

        Only because you misconstrue. Eating too much is not the problem. Wasting food is the enemy. ‘Chi bao le ma?’ is a greeting in Chinese like how are you. It means literally ‘have you eaten your fill?’ Eating heartily is a big part of the Chinese culture. Wasting food is a horse of a different color. If you want to fault Chinese on matters of food, go after hygiene. Things might have changed since I was last there. It was a paradise for smokers, spitters and snot slingers.

        1. Can you go back and syat there?

          1. Stay there, you mean? I doubt the government would welcome me back, certainly not to stay. You’d have a better chance once Americans are allowed to travel internationally.

  15. Food prices there are absurdly low which leads to a lot of waste. Low prices keep the masses quiet.

  16. If nobody else is going to say it, I suppose I should, although I’m very disappointed that I’m the one who has to raise it – today is the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, perhaps the greatest writer of all time. From stories such as The Veldt or A Sound of Thunder to story collections such as The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine to books such as Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury was by far the most evocative writer I’ve ever read. Nobody even close. It felt almost personal when he died some years back.

    And, oh yeah, he also wrote Fahrenheit 451 a prescient dystopian novel, but I don’t think that was very representative of his writing, even though it was representative of his imagination. More representative of his writing might be Calling Mexico City AKA The Window, one of my favorite stories, nearly about nothing, but so much emotion.

    At any rate, here’s a link to a reading of Fahrenheit 451 in honor of his 100th birthday.

  17. Food waste is a problem around the world. Combating it must be a goal. But achieving that goal shouldn’t come at the expense of individual rights—in China or anywhere else.

    How did that get past Reason’s censors?

    1. A lot of food waste is the result of regulations and consumer choice. Grocery stores and bakeries used to sell their stale and spoiled fruits, vegetables and breads to feedlots, dairies and pig farms, but the environmentalist/vegetarians objected and demanded they compost it or throw it out. So many states banned these entities from selling their outdated goods. Composting and or landfills produce more GHG, then if they fed it, as some of the carbon will be absorbed by the animals it’s being fed to. Also, it helps keep feed costs down for farmers and ranchers.
      It is also generally illegal for grocery stores and bakeries to sell “expired” food, even if it is safe. Most of the time it is perfectly safe, and some items, like fresh baked bread that has gone stale, can be repurposed for other types of food. I make bread pudding and mincemeat every Christmas, the best bread for bread pudding is stale bread, so I have to buy fresh and let it go stale. Older meat is also better for mincemeat (game meat is the best but if it is another year were I’m eating tag soup during the winter I’ll use beef). My wife freezes all any bananas that have gone bad, and makes banana bread when she has enough. Bruised tomatoes can be stewed or made into salsa.

      1. Additionally, a number of soups and stews were originally created to deal with food that had started to spoil or go stale.

        1. Ahhh good old corned beef. You can preserver almost rancid meat

          1. And damn tasty, especially if served on rye bread with sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and swiss cheese and grilled.

      2. “A lot of food waste is the result of regulations and consumer choice.”

        Not so in China. There are very few regulations and they tend to be enforced by incompetent and corrupt people. What do you think happens to that bucket of slops that sits on the floor of every restaurant kitchen in China? You don’t want to know, but I’ll tell you anyway. A guy from the fish farm drops by, and he pays a little money and he takes it away to feed his hungry fish. No regulations, the customers aren’t choosing this, it’s done without their knowledge or consent. Yet China apparently has about as much food waste as the US.

        1. And feeding food no longer safe for human consumption to fish farms,which helps grow more food is somehow bad? I just fucking stated that it is a good thing, moron. Why wouldn’t I want to know that?

          1. “which helps grow more food is somehow bad”

            China’s wet markets are notorious for their role in zoonotic viruses like covid19. I thought you had some post grad degree in agriculture.

            1. Non-sequitor. What I proposed, and was used quite extensively in the US (and still is in some areas) has nothing to do with wet markets.

              1. Do you want markets regulated by the government or don’t you?

                I know you don’t want unregulated wet markets like the Chinese, but you feel compelled to parrot the whining about government regulation. It’s the intellectual dishonesty of a technocrat.

                1. Taking it to a butcher, rather or not it is government regulated, having it professionally processed and then freezing it for your own use is nothing like a wet market.

                  1. “is nothing like a wet market”

                    How would you know? When did you last shop at a wet market?

                  2. Because a wet market is a market to sell lived caged animals that are slaughtered on site for customers. I am talking about growing your own food and having it processed by a professional. But keep digging.

        2. And obviously I am talking about in the states, as good waste is not a Chinese only phenomena.

          1. You want America to follow China’s break neck nuclear policy. You want Americans to shop at Chinese style unregulated wet markets. Where does your desire to ape all things Chinese end?

            1. What the fuck are you talking about? Where did I mention wet markets? Or anything even fucking resembling wet markets?

            2. Are you capable of basic reading comprehension? Because you seem to be failing miserably at it.

              1. I make up for it by being one step ahead of you.

                1. No, you are about five steps behind and lack basic logic too. Nothing I proposed is even remotely like a wet market. The fact that you felt it relevant to the discussion demonstrates your lack of basic knowledge and critical thinking skills. Also, the fact that you think you are a step ahead by making strawman arguments further demonstrates your inability to apply basic deductive reasoning.

                  1. “Nothing I proposed is even remotely like a wet market.”

                    What’s all this blather about government regulation? A wet market, by definition, is an unregulated market.

                    1. No one mentioned government regulations or a market, but you.

                    2. “A lot of food waste is the result of regulations and consumer choice.”

                      That’s a quote from one of your earlier comments. If you are not whining about regulations, you are whining about the lack of them.

  18. If China is experiencing food shortages, imagine how it must be in North Korea, where it is rumored they are confiscating pet dogs to run them through the sausage grinder.

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  20. Well, China’s ahead of us in terms of infrastructure, 5G, bullet trains, all sorts of stuff. Here’s another thing they can be ahead of the curve in: state-endorsed cannibalism. It could solve so many problems for them. Heck, they already sell the organs of political prisoners. Why burn the remains and introduce more CO2 into the atmosphere? Nothing should go to waste. Might even improve their cuisine. Seems like a fair trade for reducing the consumption of bats and pangolins.

  21. A surplus of food is better than a shortage.

    “Food waste” is not a problem. Trying to “solve” it will just result in people starving.

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  23. I saw another story about Trump’s plan to cheat in the election by stomping on the Post Office, this in addition to the GOP’s efforts to suppress the vote, the Russian efforts to influence the vote, and the general doubts that this all-mail election is going to go smoothly. Then they segued right into a story about how appalling it is that Trump is questioning the legitimacy of the election. Look, we all know that Biden is leading overwhelmingly in all the polls, that everybody hates Trump, that no respectable person is going to vote for him, and therefore the only way humanly possible for Trump to win re-election is through massive vote fraud (which totally doesn’t exist, by the way) so you’ve already decided this is not going to be a legitimate election, why exactly is it so appalling that Trump agrees with you?

    1. Heads: Trump loses.
      Tails: Biden wins.

      When it doesn’t matter what the question is, the answer is always that Trump is wrong, then what we’re seeing is probably related to TDS.

      That’s what TDS is: when our view of the issues is distorted because of President Trump’s proximity to them.

      538 has Trump’s chances of winning in the toilet–right about where they were when Trump was elected in 2016. There were two indicators that presaged Trump’s victory in 2016.

      1) The incumbent party’s candidate loses when the S&P 500 on election day is lower than it was three months before the election. If the S&P 500 is higher on election day than it was three months before the election, the incumbent party wins. That holds true about 80% of the time, and when Hillary Clinton lost, the S&P 500 was lower than it had been three months before the election.

      2) Gallup surveys showed that Americans’ opinions of the news were lower than they had ever been before just two weeks before the election–not just among Republicans but also among independents. Since the news was about little other than Trump at that time, it’s hard to interpret the Gallup poll on that as anything but Americans’ opinion of the Trump coverage.


      1) The S&P 500 is hitting record highs. If they stay that way through election day, that would auger well for President Trump–just like it augured poorly for Hillary Clinton despite the opinion polls showing her winning like the opinion polls are showing Biden winning now.

      2) I don’t see what the news media has done to endear themselves to the general public with their coverage over the past couple of months, and it isn’t just that they criticize President Trump regardless of whether it’s heads or tails; it’s also that they’ve been cheerleading for arsonists, looters, and defunding the police, positions that are so embarrassing for Biden that he asked a bootlicker to be his running mate.

      If I had to bet, I’d bet on Trump losing–but then I would have bet on him losing in 2016 (if I’d had to) and I wouldn’t bet on it either way. It’ll come down to 2% of the vote in some relatively small states going one way or the other. If it weren’t for the coronavirus, he’d be cruising to a win on the popularity of his record–especially on China in the swing state rust belt. I suspect the economy will be better in two months than it is now, and if the swing vote turns based on who they think is most likely to get them back to work after the pandemic, I think that’s gotta favor President Trump.

      1. “I think that’s gotta favor President Trump.”

        You’re full of surprises.

      2. The S&P will follow investor confidence.

        If investors believe that Trump is done and Biden/Harris are inevitable, how does that auger for their investments? The banks did extremely well under Obama. Everyone else? Much less so.

        I’d say that once investors believe that Biden is going to win and Biden is not going to be calling the shots, all bets are off. Look for a potential September/October market crash as people realize that AOC is going to have an actual voice in the new world.


        Harris convinces everyone that she’s exactly what she seemed to be before taking her Senate seat… an establishment politician who will dance to the tune that she’s told to dance to, protect those whom she’s suppose to protect and spend the money where she’s supposed to spend it.

        Then the market might take off like a rocket for her too.

        1. The expectations in the S&P 500 are off the rails right now. It’s higher now than it was before the pandemic.

          Part of it is driven by people wanting U.S. dollar denominated assets because they think we’re the prettiest horse in the glue factory. Part of it is because normal safe havens like German bonds and U.S. treasuries are paying negative interest and almost nothing respectively. Why bother with returns like that when you can plow your money into Amazon and Tesla.

          If Biden is elected, I’d expect treasury rates to increase quickly. Between the $3.5 trillion stimulus deal the Democrats want to pass to bail out the states (among other things) and the Green New Deal Biden campaigned on, which should cost at least another $10 trillion eventually, bidders on treasury debt will start demanding more interest in order to compensate for all that inflation risk. If and when treasury yields rise, the S&P 500 will stop looking so attractive, and we’ll see it come down closer to its historical average in terms of p/e.

          The reason the S&P 500 tends to track voter sentiment is because they’re both driven by expectations of the future. If companies are relatively fearful of the future, chances are there are a lot of swing voters who are worried about their jobs. When the S&P 500 is rising, it’s often because consumer sentiment is rising. Consumers are voters, too.

          In other words, to the extent that the S&P 500 suggests whether the incumbent party is favored, it’s more likely because of consumer sentiment rather than investor sentiment. Consumer cyclicals in the S&P 500 rise with consumer sentiment, and consumer sentiment suffers when people are worried about losing their jobs. And there are probably far more consumers in the swing vote than there are investors.

    2. “and therefore the only way humanly possible for Trump to win re-election is through massive vote fraud ”

      Vote suppression is another way. Remember, he only needs to come in second place to win.


    “Portland, Ore., faced another day of violent protests between opposing groups as hundreds clashed Saturday afternoon, forcing police to declare an unlawful assembly.

    “Groups like the right-wing Proud Boys and left-wing Antifa were present for today’s rallies.

    “Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted a warning to all of the day’s protesters, telling them to ‘peacefully exercise their First Amendment Rights.’

    “But violent skirmishes broke out around the city anyway as people attacked each other with pepper spray, paintball guns, bats, shields and projectiles. Streets were blocked, and police monitored the situation near the Multnomah County Justice Center.“

    1. Meanwhile, …

      “Maybe it’s a metaphor for the 170,000+ her husband has killed while in office. If that’s the case, then my hat is off to her.“

      1. Over 20 million Americans died under Obama.

        1. My comment was criticizing Democrats who are working such an exaggerated charge into Melania Trump’s renovating the Rose Garden.

          1. It really wasn’t.

            1. It would have been clearer if the comment I posted right after this one was at the same level, but I messed that up. I was quoting what was said in the story because I thought it was an inappropriate thing to say in response to the First Lady renovating a garden.

  25. And …

    “President Donald Trump on Saturday accused Democrats of removing the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance during the Democratic National Convention willfully.”

    1. The two-party system is giving the American people but poor government, debt, and nothing a downward spiral of Red vs. Blue Team stupidity wars.

      Democrats snipe at the Rose Garden renovations, Trump snipes about the Pledge if Allegiance with a tweet that fudges the truth, while both sides have thug followers rumbling in the streets.

      Why support either one of these two dinosaurs?

  26. Silicon Valley now has (I kid you not) “food scraps recycling”.
    They don’t say what they plan to do with your food scraps, but this started shortly after all the artificial meat companies got going.

  27. What’s up, Peanuts?

    Why isn’t Reason covering Sister-gate? Reason is in the bag for The Con Man, that’s why.

    1. Well said, Mr. Buttplug.

      Do you think House Democrats should impeach him again over this latest earth-shattering bombshell? I do. We could even get Robert Mueller to investigate.


    2. Hey Weigel! Why haven’t you given in to your sad clown urges yet?

      Maybe Trump’s re-election will be the final straw that pushes you over the edge for good.

      1. Hey Mikey. Remember that bombshell story you’ve been talking about for a couple of years? You said it would come out at any time.

        Is it Sister-gate?

        1. Youch, a sister bitched about her brother, that’s totally never happened before. Shocking and unusual.

          Yup, you’ve finally found your scandal Nuttplug. You guys should definitely try riding it all the way to November.

      2. Oh, how forgetful of me.

        You said it would cause an indictment and political disaster for Obama.

        Anyway, what ever became of that?

        1. It’s coming along nicely, thanks.
          If you ever bothered to read something that wasn’t on Vox or Huffpo you might have known that.

  28. Trump’s sister – the federal judge

    “All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in one recording. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

    “His goddamn tweeting and lying, oh my God,” Barry said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

    1. It. Gets. Even. Worse.

      The #Trump family did its best to turn the lovely Rose Garden into a neo-fascist parade ground.

      I’m literally shaking right now.


      1. The Rose Garden criticism is ridiculous, but it is newsworthy that Trump’s own sister denounces his character. It’s hitting below the belt and dirty politics, but it is relevant.

        1. Who the hell has a sibling that doesn’t shit on them now and then?

          Bitching about their brother is a sister’s job.

          1. +1 Billy Carter
            +1/2 Malik Obama

            1. Prior to the 2016 United States presidential election, Malik Obama stated that he supported Donald Trump, the candidate for the Republican Party.[13] He attended the third presidential debate as one of Trump’s guests.[14]
              On June 12, 2020, Malik reportedly endorsed the incumbent United States president Donald Trump,[15] and later in the week promoted information in support of what is widely known as the Birtherism conspiracy theory.[16][17].

              Yes, but Trump’s sister…

            2. …also:
              + 1 Roger Clinton

    2. All he wants to do is appeal to his base
      Reminds me of Obama.

      He has no principles
      Reminds me of Obama.

      And his base, I mean my God
      Like the followers who think Obama’s white house was scandal free.

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