Well this is non-monetary, but I can’t help myself. One of the top media stories in Europe this week is the “Horsemeat scandal”.
This is the story according to CNN:
Horsemeat has been discovered in products labeled as 100% beef and sold in Sweden, the United Kingdom and France.
Food authorities in those countries have launched investigations but the supply chain being studied includes still more countries.
Any serious economist should of course be reminded what Nobel Prize winning Al Roth has to say about horsemeat:
“Why can’t you eat horse or dog meat in a restaurant in California, a state with a population that hails from all over the world, including some places where such meals are appreciated? The answer is that many Californians not only don’t wish to eat horses or dogs themselves, but find it repugnant that anyone else should do so, and they enacted this repugnance into California law by referendum in 1998. Section 598 of the California Penal Code states in part: “[H]orsemeat may not be offered for sale for human consumption. No restaurant, cafe, or other public eating place may offer horsemeat for human consumption.” The measure passed by a margin of 60 to 40 percent with over 4.6 million people voting for it.
Notice that this law does not seek to protect the safety of consumers by govern- ing the slaughter, sale, preparation, and labeling of animals used for food. It is different from laws prohibiting the inhumane treatment of animals, like rules on how farm animals can be raised or slaughtered, or laws prohibiting cockfights, or the recently established (and still contested) ban on selling foie gras in Chicago restaurants (Ruethling, 2006). It is not illegal in California to kill horses; the California law only outlaws such killing “if that person knows or should have known that any part of that horse will be used for human consumption.” The prohibited use is “human consumption,” so it apparently remains legal in California to buy and sell pet food that contains horse meat (although the use of horse meat in pet food has declined in the face of the demand in Europe for U.S. horse meat for human consumption).”
I don’t really have anything to add other than this might be a problem for my “Bacon Standard” – you might be able to debase the currency if you mix horsemeat into pork…