Major Hedge Fund Manager Goes After NYT Food Guy And His Use Of A Basic Economic Concept

Cliff asnessYouTube / 1957AtlasClifford Asness

Mark Bittman is out with an indictment of industrial food in his latest opinion piece for The New York Times.

He has taken particular issue with the cheeseburger.

Bittman appropriates some economics 101 jargon to explain his real concerns. From The NYTimes:

“What you pay for a cheeseburger is the price, but price isn’t cost. It isn’t the cost to the producers or the marketers and it certainly isn’t the sum of the costs to the world; those true costs are much greater than the price.

“…Whatever the product, some costs are borne by producers, but others, called external costs — “externalities,” as economists call them — are not; nor are they represented in the price. Take litter: If your cheeseburger comes wrapped in a piece of paper, and you throw that piece of paper on the sidewalk, it eventually may be picked up by a worker and put in the trash; the cost of that act is an externality. Only by including externalities can you arrive at a true cost.”

The burger truther makes some valid points, but AQR Capital Management’s Cliff Asness wasn’t having any of it.

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