For example, fast “food” is an incredibly cheap source of calories in the US but its costs do not reflect market reality. Its ingredients have low costs due to agriculture subsidies. The economies of scale used by the industry require massive infrastructure and energy use. The cost of infrastructure is externalized as overhead. The cost of energy is undervalued because the energy industry receives high tax breaks and externalizes the costs of environmental damage and health risks. Overconsumption of fast food drives up nation-wide health costs to cope with rising diabetes and obesity. The health costs themselves are inflated under the burden of overhead for an incredibly complex multi-payer system and prices are based on services rendered rather than on outcomes achieved.
This brief, US-focused example illustrates not only what dire situations food, energy, and health are in but also how complex and interrelated they all are. These issues must be addressed at the system level and the primary parameter for the capitalist system is pricing. Addressing pricing will require an interdisciplinary and inter-professional approach, which is why the NAKFI conference is a perfect venue for its discussion.