Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of Dan Cudahy's Live Chat on 13 and 14 March 2010

Dan Cudahy's Live Chat Transcript 13 March 2010 at:

6pm US Eastern Time
11pm UK Time and: 

14 March 2010 at:
9am Australian Eastern Standard Time 

Carolyn Bailey:

Dan opposes animal exploitation and rejects the notion that welfare reforms can ever provide any justice or meaningful protection to sentient nonhuman beings. Dan promotes healthy and enjoyable vegan living as an imperative to respect the lives and the most basic moral rights of nonhuman individuals who are every bit as interested in their lives as we are in ours. It is only through dogmatic cultural prejudice and blind tradition and habit that we fail to acknowledge these basic moral rights.

 

We have overcome similar prejudice in our societies over the past four hundred years in ending the sanctioned torture and killing of heretics and "witches" and abolishing the institution of slavery. We can also overcome our prejudice regarding the view of nonhumans as commodities for us to exploit and kill. As a society, it will take a while to eliminate the prejudice, but as individuals, we can choose a paradigm shift and change immediately by going and staying vegan.

 

As a practicing accountant, Dan volunteers his time and accounting skills to animal rights related nonprofit organizations.

 

Would you please welcome Dan Cudahy here today with a warm ARZone welcome, Welcome Dan!


Roger Yates: 

Dan the man!

 

Lisa Blundell:
Welcome Dan!

 

Elizabeth Collins:

Welcome :-)


Carolyn Bailey:

Hey, welcome, Dan!


William Paul:

Hey, welcome, Dan!


Veganicious:

Welcome Dan!


Dave Warwak:

Rock it!


Pauline McGuigan:

Hi


Dan Cudahy:

Thank you Carolyn! Hi everyone, and thank you to all for being here.


Carolyn Bailey:

Before we begin, Dan has very kindly given up his time to join us today, Please refrain from interrupting, and reserve your comments and questions until the formal chat has concluded; at which time everyone will be invited to engage Dan.

I’d now like to ask Lisa to ask Dan his first question, Lise?


Lisa Blundell:

Hi Dan, Congratulations on the enormous success of ‘Unpopular Vegan Essays’. I was hoping you may be able to offer some information and advice to other people thinking about setting up their own blog site. How to go about starting out etc. Do you think podcasting is a good form of communication?


Dan Cudahy:

Thank you, Lisa. I think it is best to start with a purpose. When I started the blog, my purpose was to provide a resource for both myself and others when discussing animal-related issues. A strong purpose will keep you interested and keep your blog more interesting.

 

If you want to reach more people, involvement in social networking sites is important. I also learned to shorten my posts.  People’s on-line attention spans are shorter than magazine or book attention spans. Lately, I’ve tried to keep my essays under 1500 words. Podcasts are popular, so I think they are a good form of communication. Again, keeping them shorter will gain more listeners.


Lisa Blundell:

Thank you very much :-)


Dan Cudahy:

You're welcome. :-)


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much, Dan. Dave Warwak has another question for you. Dave?


Dave Warwak:

Great work Dan! Besides your most excellent blog, what other kinds of activism do you do? What do you feel are the three most effective and important forms of activism a person can do?


Dan Cudahy:

Thank you, Dave. :-) These days most of my advocacy is online on various forums where I explain to non-vegans what speciesism is, why it is wrong, and how to go vegan.

 

I used to table at festivals in Denver and Boulder. There are two main reasons I stopped. First, I live two and three hours away from D&B, and the opportunities for effective tabling or leafleting is slim in the rural area where I live. Second, I think on-line advocacy can be more cost effective if done right in the right venues (popular, non-vegan venues).

 

In daily life offline, I look for opportunities to engage people in discussion. I’ve found everyday off-line discussion to be effective in at least getting people to respect the issue and vegans, even if they’re not yet willing to go vegan themselves. If we’re giving people the right information, getting this respect and breaking down speciesist prejudice alone is important to long term success.

 

My wife, who is trained as a chef, is planning to hold vegan-cooking classes at our home during the warmer seasons (it’s cold and snowy here for 5 or 6 months a year). I think the three most effective forms of activism in our era are education, education, and education (both why and how to go vegan) online and offline.


Dave Warwak:

Great - thank you


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Dan, for your insight. Jason would like to ask you the next question, Jason!


Dan Cudahy:

You're welcome. :-)


Jason! Ward:

Thanks Carolyn. Dan, could you please tell us why new welfarism doesn’t work for the animals, in your opinion? Some people believe that it’s just as, if not more, important to “save the animals who are suffering now”, rather than focusing on the bigger picture of vegan education.


Dan Cudahy:

New welfarism does not and cannot work for animals for precisely the same reason it did not and could not work for human slaves in the 19th century. Animals and chattel slaves are commodity units without basic rights. Without *basic* rights (e.g. to life, not to be property of another, etc.), it is useless to talk about what other “rights” someone may have.

Our “protection” has *only* two purposes:

1) to use the animal in the most cost effective way possible,

and

2) to make consumers feel better about exploitation and killing.

Different legal treatments exist among species because there are different human uses for each species. We will never resolve those differences or reduce the severity of the treatment as long as we see animals as “here for us to use”. Welfare regulations only entrench animals deeper into the property and commodity paradigm by creating additional layers of bureaucracy and “inspector” jobs that reinforce the exploiting institution.

We must shift from the property, commodity, and use paradigm to a vegan, animals-as-persons, non-exploitive paradigm. Otherwise, we will continue to exploit and kill more animals in more cruel ways than ever before. A *commodity unit* VERSUS a *property rights holder* who owns the commodity: Who wins? We are not even reducing suffering in any meaningful way with attempts at welfare reform, much less “saving the animals who are suffering now”.


Jason Ward:

That was great - thank you


Dan Cudahy:

Thanks Jason.


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much, Dan. Great advice! Marietta also has a question for you but is unable to be here, so Roger will ask on her behalf, Rog?


Roger Yates:

Ok. In an ideal scenario, the whole world would be vegan. But what about the people who live in the Arctic, Iceland and other extremely cold places, where –they say-- alternatives to fur, would let them freeze to death. Do people in the Artic have a moral get out of jail free card? People are everywhere, even where, in my opinion they should not be at all ! Could we just leave some pristine places untouched by our footsteps?


Dan Cudahy:

As a mountain climber with lots of experience in extreme temperatures and wind chills (wind chills down to -60F / -51C) successfully relying only on synthetic clothing for warmth, I can assure you that fur and feathers are not necessary. Many alpinists prefer synthetic insulation over feathers in extreme high altitude conditions (some of the coldest on Earth) because feathers, like cotton, are worse than useless if they get wet.  Again, fur and feathers are completely unnecessary.

 

Vegan food can be shipped to the Arctic and stored as easily, or more so, than animal products (things freeze well there). In short, I see no reason why someone could not be a vegan in extreme climates in the 21st century. Finally, I agree that there really should be a good reason for living in an extreme climate, even if you are living as a vegan.


Roger Yates:

Thank you Dan


Dan Cudahy:

You're welcome. :-)


Roger Yates:

Carolyn has the next question she will pretend is someone else's!! C??


Carolyn Bailey:

Hey Dan, I have a very serious question to ask, how does a new welfarist change a light bulb?


Dan Cudahy:

Haha. :-D A new welfarist tries in vain to fix the light bulb instead of changing it. When we say that it should be changed, they get angry and sad and call us divisive. What’s an abolitionist to do?  ::shrug:: :-)


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks! Kate has the next question but is transcribing, so Roger will ask that one too, Rog?


Roger Yates:

This is a long one, Dan, so...

 

Hi Dan. You have written, “People often ask if insects are sentient. I don’t know to what extent they are. The question of where to draw the line on sentience, particularly its degree, is a difficult and lengthy topic to cover, and I will not address it in this essay. What we do know for certain is that birds and mammals are sentient in a way and to a degree highly similar to humans, so much so that any differences in sentience are morally immaterial. We have good reason to believe that other vertebrates, such as fishes, reptiles, and amphibians are also sentient to a high degree; although as we get further from biological similarities to humans, such as in the case of insects, it gets more difficult for us know what a being’s sentience or experience is like, in kind or degree."

 

Given Oscar Horta’s definition of Anthropocentrism “disadvantageous treatment or consideration of those who are not members (or who are not considered members) of the human species," do you think you exhibit anthropocentrism in the above quote?


Dan Cudahy:

Good question. :-) No, I do not in any morally relevant sense. 

We agree that sentience is the relevant characteristic (to think otherwise is almost always anthropocentric). Whether or not sentience exists in a certain species is purely an empirical question, not a moral one. Yes, it has moral implications, so we should be very careful to leave biases aside, but it is empirical, not moral.

We are limited to our own experience and knowledge of neurological anatomy and function in making empirical estimates of sentience. Empirically, we have no choice but to attempt to relate a being’s experience to our own. So the more unlike us a being is physiologically, the more difficult it is to know what it’s like to be that being. This is especially true when nervous systems (e.g. of a gnat or mosquito) are significantly different. If we were dogs, we would have no choice but to relate a being’s experience to our “dog-experience”. It would be “canine-centric”, but we can’t empirically transcend that.

So it’s not species-centric in a way that we can do anything about. Morally, however, we can make up for our inherent ignorance by giving the benefit of the doubt where it is reasonable to do so (e.g. insects).  As long as we do that, I think we’re clear of anthropocentrism.


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan.


Dan Cudahy:

You're welcome. :-)


Roger Yates:

The next question is from Marietta Alfaro but she's away on internationally important business, so Carolyn is asking her Q - C?


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Roger, this is Marietta's question, Dan - What would it take to make the whole world vegan and how long would that take?


Dan Cudahy:

It will take a gradual understanding and wearing down of the cultural prejudice of speciesism via relentless educational efforts over many years on the part of many vegan advocates. That is why the quest for new vegans who reject speciesism is so important.

We need more vegan educators. The prejudice of speciesism will have to become as familiar in society as the prejudice of racism. I think it is impossible to know how long it will take.  Social change can be amazingly rapid and exponential, but it can also remain stagnant or go the other way. Like the weather, it is unpredictable. For now, it largely depends on how quickly vegetarians go vegan and vegans embrace abolitionism and vegan education. Too many vegans are enthralled with welfarism and single-issue campaigns for anything much to happen now.


Carolyn Bailey: 

Thanks again Dan, for your intelligent and insightful replies! Roger has a question for you next, Rog?


Dan Cudahy:

Thank Carolyn.


Roger Yates:

Hi Dan - I get to ask a Q of my own!


Dan Cudahy:

Cool.8-)


Roger Yates:

You reviewed the “Gary books” (Francione & Steiner) in 2008 – ‘Animals as Persons’ and ‘Animals and the Moral Community.’ Can you say why these texts are important for the animal advocacy movement?


Dan Cudahy:

The short answer is that both strike at the root of the problem of speciesism and how to solve it with clear and cogent reasoning from overwhelming empirical evidence. Both are also very accessible and jargon-free.

Gary Francione’s book is a good summary of his work overall and adds enough material formerly restricted to academic journals to make it well worth reading even for someone who is very familiar with his work.

Gary Steiner’s book, as its title suggests, examines the mental life, moral status, and our kinship with nonhuman animals. Conceptual abilities are utterly irrelevant; our kinship lies in our common striving for life and well-being. There is so much more to say about these books, so to those who haven’t seen the reviews yet, please check them out on Unpopular Vegan Essays: http://unpopularveganessays.blogspot.com/2008/12/recommendations-on...


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan


Dan Cudahy:

You're welcome.


Roger Yates:

Isn't that what I said on Francione's dust jacket??!! - and what's the long answer?


Dan Cudahy:

Haha! :-D


Carolyn Bailey:

I would like to ask you another question if I may, Dan ..The issue of the supply –v- the demand side is a current debate.  What are your thoughts on this?

 

Dan Cudahy:

Certainly. The no-brainer is that 1) demand drives supply and, 2) the customer is always right (the marketing corollary to #1). 

Marketing and advertising can realize potential demand, but cannot create demand. There must be potential demand for marketers to take advantage of it. Investors who decide where to allocate financial resources don’t care what is being sold (animal products or vegan products); they only care about the demand and resulting profit potential of a product. Industry is extremely resilient to supply-side efforts to make animal products cost more. Indeed, such efforts almost always play to their strengths. However, industry is vulnerable to major changes in social beliefs and attitudes that change demand and potential demand. This is especially true when (the animal) industry has so many social negatives.

If consumers want vegan products instead of animal products, then animal-specific industries will suffer the loss in market share and profits. This loss will, in turn, fuel more resources to go toward vegan products, perpetuating the cycle. The obvious implication is that we must focus solely on demand through vegan education, including education about speciesism and how to go vegan….For more on this, consider reading the following link.http://unpopularveganessays.blogspot.com/2010/03/basic-economics-an...

 

Dave Warwak:

What about the brainwashing in schools marketing and advertising creates continuous demand by targeting children?


Roger Yates:

Can we take this Q after our last formal Q?


Dan Cudahy:

That is a difficult thing to counter, but notice what they're doing: NON-vegan education!


Carolyn Bailey:

I couldn't agree more, Dan, thanks!


Lisa Blundell:

Hello again. :-) Dan, what’s wrong with vegetarianism?

 

Dan Cudahy:

Hi Lisa. Vegetarianism used to mean something much closer to vegan, but over several decades, it has come to mean consuming certain animal products (e.g. dairy and eggs) but not others (e.g. flesh). 

Vegetarianism, because it includes easily avoidable animal use and animal product consumption, directly contributes to and condones the exploitation and intentional killing of animals, and all of the misery and terror that inherently goes with it. If we are going to rid ourselves of speciesism and take animals’ interests seriously, we must go vegan. If we wouldn’t contribute to the misery and unjust killing of humans, we shouldn’t do so with nonhumans either. For more reading, consider reading the following link: http://unpopularveganessays.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-is-wrong-with...


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again, Dan. This concludes the formal section of our chat with Dan today. Dan has very generously agreed to stay on for an open chat with all members. Please let either myself or Roger know if you'd like to direct a question to Dan.


Lisa Blundell:

Brilliant answer, thanks muchly Dan. :-)


Dan Cudahy:

Thanks Lisa. Dave – My answer to you didn’t quite come out right. Notice that the school advertising is NON-vegan education. We should take some notes!!!


Carolyn Bailey:

I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Dan for being here today!


Dan Cudahy:

My pleasure Carolyn. I'm not planning on going anywhere soon, so I'll be here for chat for a while.


Dave Warwak:

Great job Dan!


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Dan!


Dan Cudahy:

Thanks Dave. You're welcome, Carolyn. Thanks for inviting me! :-)


Roger Yates: 

You planning on beating Francione's 6.5 hours Dan?


Dan Cudahy:

Haha! Don't know 'bout that. :-D


Roger Yates:

8-)


Carolyn Bailey:

Hah


Dave Warwak:

I am late for my toe massage. Goodbye all ;-)


Carolyn Bailey:

See ya Dave


Dan Cudahy:

Bye Dave.


Caroline Raward:

Thanks for your time Dan:-)


Veganacious:

Dan, any insights into what we can do to unify the movement? There are so many obstacles from within, such as the large animal orgs.


Dan Cudahy:

Keep on doing what we're doing. Unfortunately, as long as there are non-vegans, there will be welfarism, so this battle will go on for decades, but hopefully we'll gain more abolitionist vegans as time goes on.


Veganacious

I hope so too. Thanks Dan!


Dan Cudahy:

And hopefully it will be exponential.


Roger Yates:

Dan - Cian Lynch has a question for you...


Cian Lynch:

Hi Dan


Dan Cudahy:

Sure, go ahead. Hi Cian


Cian Lynch:

My question is: Would you accept that at some point in the future, there might be a time and place for non-violent illegal direct action?. Militancy does not equate to violence, in my view.


Poetryx:

Yay! My question too!


Dan Cudahy:

Could you provide an example? How illegal? Generally, I don't think illegal activities are effective when legal activities can get the job done.


Cian Lynch:

For example, an illegal strike by workers at a meat-processing plant they block lorries etc. assume, that a large portion of the population is vegan at this point 30%+


Dan Cudahy:

As a form of political protest when we have sufficient political support (e.g. at least 30 or 40%), yes, I think that could raise awareness.


Cian Lynch:

ah. Unbelievable we must have mind connection thanks!


Dan Cudahy:

One caveat: As long as it remained non-violent. Such strikes sometimes become violent. You're welcome.


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Dan, Matjaz would also like to address you, Matjaz?


Matjaz:

Hi Dan, a friend of mine is planning to organize a small film festival in Slovenia about animal rights, which 4-5 movies would you recommend? (my two favorites are from the Tribe of heart)?


Dan Cudahy:

That's a tough one, because most of the films do not carry an abolitionist message. I'm not thrilled about recommending any films that don't have a strong abolitionist message. However, if a strong abolitionist message accompanied ToH, A Life Connected, and possibly Earthlings, perhaps that could be effective. Otherwise, the focus is on treatment, not use.


Roger Yates:

I have a Q Dan - while others are composing theirs. I believe you have a “vegans against PeTA” link on your blog. I have seen animal advocates say they don’t understand that. Could you explain?


Matjaz:

Thank you, Dan (I was expecting that answer, just wanted to check whether I have missed something).


Dan Cudahy:

PETA is an animal welfare organization, not an animal rights organization, despite calling themselves one. They are contradictory in most of what they do.  They are an obstacle to animal rights. I’ve written two blog essays that address PETA’s contradictions and how they are harmful to animal rights and vegan education. PETA is one of the biggest obstacles we face. Both blog essays are under the label "PETA", btw


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan - you ain't gonna get an argument from me on that! OK – people, any more questions before we wrap?


Dan Cudahy:

:-)


Vincent J Guihan:

I have questions if no one else does.


Tim Masters:

Yeah, any chance your work might make it onto a podcast or have you been invited onto any yet?


Vincent J Guihan:

And Dan wants to answer some.


Dan Cudahy:

Maybe Tim. We'll see. I doubt I'd do my own podcast. I'm more of a writer. Go ahead Vincent


Tim Masters:

Cool I was actually baiting all the podcasters here.


Dan Cudahy:

:-)


Roger Yates:

:-D


Tim Masters:

Sorry Vincent, go


Vincent J Guihan:

Pain is one sufficient criterion to consider an animal to be sentient. Do you think there are others? For example, do you think cuttlefish/other cephalopods are sentient?


Dan Cudahy:

I don’t know enough about cuttlefish and cephalopods to say, but yes, I think there are many strong indications of sentience. For example immediate reactions to stimuli, evidence of sight, hearing, sonar, etc. Also, nervous system anatomy can help us identify sentience. Any being who moves or evades immediate harm within seconds is very likely sentient.


Vincent J Guihan:

Thanks, Dan.


Cian Lynch:

Dan, related question - What do you say to someone who says you're not really for animal rights, its only rights for sentient animals, and some animals (i.e. sea cucumbers) are almost certainly not sentient? Is this annoying or what! :-)


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan


Dan Cudahy:

What’s annoying is that these people know better. They are playing dumb, and making us jump through hoops to evade and avoid personal responsibility. That said, we have to take the question seriously and ask them why they don’t agree that sentience is relevant.


Cian Lynch:

Thanks!


Dan Cudahy:

:-)


Roger Yates:

Thanks Dan


Dan Cudahy:

I must say that I'm very pleased with the turn out and everyone's great questions!


Roger Yates:

2 qs are lined up


Dan Cudahy:

8-)


Roger Yates:

One from Elizabeth and the other Carolyn


Roger Yates:

LIz?


Elizabeth Collins:

Hi!


Dan Cudahy:

Hi Liz!


Elizabeth Collins:

I am very troubled by something and I was hoping you could give me your opinion. While in the process of abolishing domestication, I often think that we will still be responsible for many obligate carnivores, such as domestic cats and big cats in sanctuaries who may not be able to rehabilitated into the wild in other words; we abolish domestication, yet we have many animals still to take care of, many of them obligate carnivores and of those, many who are unable to thrive on a synthetic vegan diet. Obviously, we don’t want to kill any animals to provide food for them, all our newly rescued chickens and ducks etc. will be allowed to live. So what do you think about the concept of using this new “in vitro” meat to provide food for the refugee carnivores until we finally completely abolish domestication and have no more carnivores relying on humans for their food. Does that make sense?


Dan Cudahy:

Wow, good question. I’m ambivalent about in vitro meat because I wouldn’t want it to be considered a long-term “solution”. However, if speciesism was reduced enough, I see it as probably the best option in a very messy situation. My certainty on that answer, like many moral dilemmas, is weak. There is a right answer, but I’m not sure that I gave it.


Elizabeth Collins:

Thanks Dan!


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Dan


Roger Yates:

:-D


Dan Cudahy:

You've given me a new thought project, Liz. :-)


Elizabeth Collins:

Yes, it is on my mind, appreciate any help! :-)


Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to ask another question, please, Dan. You are critical of single-issue campaigns. Can't they play a role in animal advocacy?


Dan Cudahy:

Generally, I think not, Carolyn. Even if there was a much larger percentage of vegans, I think it would still be most effective to get more vegans. Also, I think SICs promote speciesism. I cannot think of an example where SICs would be effective, but I’m open to suggestions.


Carolyn Bailey:

I agree with you, Dan, thanks


Dan Cudahy:

:-)


Roger Yates:

I would like to thank all contributors for their input in a most successful session I think - many thanks - and thanks especially to Dan Cudahy.


Trisha Roberts:

Thanks all and thank you Dan for your excellent answers :-) Looking forward to a book by you one day.


Dan Cudahy:

Thank you everyone for attending. Again, the questions were great, and I think this was very productive! Great audience!!!


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much for taking the time to be here, Dan! We really appreciate it


Tim Masters:

cheers Dan


Veganacous:

Thanks all!


William Paul:

Thanks for your time Dan! :-)


Elizabeth Collins:

Thanks Dan!


Dan Cudahy:

Thanks Trisha. Maybe someday on the book. 


Angel Flinn:

Thanks Dan :-)


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks to everyone else for being here to support Dan and ARZone.


Trisha Roberts:

Excellent Dan :-)


Kerry Wyler:

Thanks Dan, that was very informative and interesting.

 

Sandra Cummings:

Thanks Dan!

 

Dan Cudahy:

Thanks everyone, and thank you to Carolyn, Roger, and ARZone for inviting me. I'm honored.


ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after a chat by starting a forum discussion or by making a point under a transcript.


 

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Comment by Tim Gier on August 25, 2011 at 3:32

Hi Carolyn, your example is exactly what I am talking about.

Producers, often with the help of government agencies and policies, create demand by influencing consumers on matters of taste. The most obvious example I use is that of bottled water. There was no latent demand for half-liter bottles of water lying dormant somehow in the collective consciousness of people living in modern capitalist economies-- few people, if any, in 1975 longed for the day when bottled water would be ubiquitous. There was no demand for bottled water at all until producers figured out that they could change how people conceived of drinking water, until they created the market for it where it hadn't previously existed.

Now, the story is more complicated than that, but that's my point - when it comes to human behavior, things simply aren't that simple.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on August 23, 2011 at 16:37

I've always agreed with attacking the demand for any products as being the most effective and logical place to put my attention. It makes sense that if we can quell the demand for products obtained by exploiting other animals, those who produce those products may shift to producing other products (bananas perhaps). It just seems obvious.
Lots of things used to seem obvious to me, which no longer do though.

The more I think about some things, the more complicated they seem to get. Of course what you say above makes perfect sense, Tim. Of course producers can influence our choices.

When the Australian Govt. decided they wanted to "cull" more kangaroos about 15-20 years ago, they decided to market the flesh of kangaroos to the Australian public. They did so in such a convincing way that kangaroo flesh is now almost as common as the flesh of cows and sheep here. They marketed this as healthy, non-fatty, and pretty much that it was a miracle "food". 

Who would have thought that 30 years ago this would have been possible.

I'm not sure if that's exactly what you're talking about, Tim. But, the supply/demand theories I used to think were so obvious, aren't. 

Comment by Tim Gier on August 22, 2011 at 11:42

This was an interesting chat, however, I believe that Dan's analysis of the role of the producers in creating demand another is flawed. 

 

One of the factors, which can cause a shift in the demand curve for a product, is a change in the "taste" for the product. As the "taste" for a product (good or service) increases, then consumers are willing to buy more of that product at every price. That is, the demand curve shifts. 

 

Imagine that, for whatever reason, "the public" today becomes more enamored than it was yesterday with the idea of drinking gin. The demand for gin will increase across all price points. In contrast, suppose that there is no increase in the "taste" for gin, but instead, advertising promotes special sales on some brands of gin. In that case, we should expect to see the sale of gin increase only at some price points, but not all price points. (People will buy more gin because it is on sale, not because their taste for gin has increased.) 

 

Now, can producers influence the tastes of the public? Certainly, they can. Beyond simple advertising, marketing and public relations efforts will often have the effect of changing the tastes of the public. Concerted and coordinated efforts involving such things as normalizing behaviors related to the use of certain products, or creating in the public an increased awareness related to the supposed essential need for a product can and often do shift the demand curve.

 

Those who produce and sell products do not simply respond to the potential demand that lays dormant "in the public". Producers employ sophisticated (and not so sophisticated) techniques to increase the taste for their products, shifting the demand, ensuring the need for them to supply it.

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