Sunday, May 29, 2011

Food Deserts

An interesting map, and an interesting concept: The USDA lets you view "food deserts," or "low income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store."
Link to map

Usually the complaint from you lefty bed-wetters is that corporations are too greedy. But the cool thing about this case is that you must believe corps are not greedy enough. Right?

Because the premise of this whole idea of food deserts is that it is perfectly possible to open a grocery store, and make money, in these neighborhoods.

The only reason that no one does open those potentially profitable grocery stores is... racism! Those greedy corporations won't open grocery stores. I admit it's heartbreaking to hear problems like those described in this video. But listen to the diagnosis: racism. Racism, racism, racism, from greedy groceries.

Logic fail! Greed is the enemy of racism, folks. In fact, greed is the enemy of all discrimination. Branch Rickey, who famously "broke the color line" in beisbol by hiring Jackie Robinson... was an even more famous skinflint and miser. My man Branch was no social crusader. BR signed JR because blacks could be paid less, for much higher performance, in that era of the color line.

And in fact for at least a decade after that, the average stats were higher, and the average pay was lower, for black baseball players.** GREED!You better recognize, folks.

Of course, I may be wrong. The grocery companies may be leaving money on the table here, in those "food deserts." And it is easy to prove me wrong, friends. All you arrogant, condescending lefty public sector nannies have to do is leave your protected job and go out and start a grocery store. According to your own world view, you'll be making big profits, AND helping the community. Of course, if you feel bad about the profits, you can always donate the $$ to Pres. Obama's campaign fund....

(Nod to Kevin Lewis for the link...)


Pascal, Anthony H. and Leonard A. Rapping (1972) "The Economics of Racial Discrimination in Organized Baseball", in RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN ECONOMIC LIFE

Scully, Gerald. (1974) "Discrimination: The Case of Baseball," in GOVERNMENT AND THE SPORTS BUSINESS


Art Carden said...

If I may self-promote, Charles Courtemanche and I are working on a paper about how Walmart Supercenters affect health outcomes in or near food deserts. Our paper that recently appeared in the J. Urban Econ found an increase in obesity attributable to super Walmart, but the additional obesity-related health costs are dwarfed by the savings.

Russ Nelson said...

No, no, Michael, you don't understand the complaint. It's not that the stores don't exist, or don't sell food. It's that they don't sell healthy food that their customers SHOULD be eating. The food that the groceries DO sell is 1) more highly processed, and 2) has a higher profit margin because every time it's processed somebody makes money. If the stores would only give up on making so much money, and stock healthy fresh foods (which aren't as profitable and which go bad) then the poor minorities would have healthier food to buy. If only the stores weren't so racist and greedy, they would stock fresh foods.

It all makes perfect sense when you ignore economics. Then again, *anything* makes sense when you can ignore economics.

Anonymous said...

This map seems pretty bunk to me. Based on my own community, one of the "food deserts" has a super Walmart right in the middle of it. It's one of the few super Walmarts in the city, and it sells fresh groceries at about the lowest price available. Some of the other "food deserts" aren't what I would consider low income neighborhoods, or are within a kilometer (or less) of areas with grocery stores.

I sometimes wish that Keynesian stimuli went toward digging and filling ditches rather than making fancy, but misleading, maps.

Flick said...

I agree this food desert locater is BS. My own area is labeled as a food desert. We have a variety of stores that sell produce. Two full fledge food markets, butchers and a Walmart.

Gerardo said...

Why are lefties "bed wetters"? What's the righty equivalent?

Today's word verification: boonina!

Gerardo said...

Now the word verification is "groper".

Perhaps that's my answer.

Anonymous said...

Good choice of states for the title page image, USDA! All that pink in Oregon-- that's where no one lives except for a few ranchers and farmers.

Love the apparent definition of a food desert, too. If there isn't a grocery in your census tract (neighborhood) then you can't get food. I guess in USDAland, you can't go across the street to the grocery in the next census tract. Papers please!

My captcha is "ineducti"

Tom said...

Are grocery companies leaving money on the table? (?!) All of them? Well, there's your business opportunity, Mr. Leftybedwetter: go start a grocery! ...instead of making maps and vids. When that succeeds (without a subsidy), THEN make a vid.

My captcha is mackast.

msteck said...

How about blacks in the NFL, and black quarterbacks especially.

Mike said...

The "Food Deserts" in my neck of the woods (75243) are mostly industrial areas with apartments on the fringes. In other words, if there was a little larger definition of food rain forests, the food deserts in my neck of the woods would disappear.

In fact, now that I think about it, the Albertson's that was located in one of the nearby food deserts closed! I wonder if the ground breaking research can take into account grocery stores that have closed in the last ten years?