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Guest Post: Horsemeat Economics

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics blog,


The British (and now Europe-wide) scandal of corporations selling horse meat as beef is emblematic of many of the problems with big, unwieldy systems.

The similarity between horse meat and subprime have already been noted in a Financial Times editorial:

The food industry has long known that processed meat is susceptible to fraud. While it is relatively easy to verify whole cuts of meat taken from a carcass, this is not the case for the bits left behind. These are gathered up and shipped out to thousands of outlets for processing into lower-value products. In Britain, monitoring this industry is left to local authorities and the retailers themselves.


Yet this surveillance has become virtually impossible in the modern world of food production. Consumers want ever lower prices. But food margins are already wafer thin. The drive to cut costs has sent retailers scouting for cheaper suppliers in far-flung parts of the world. Supply chains have become vast and unwieldy. And internet tenders drive prices down even further.


This has brought big benefits to consumers who until recently enjoyed consistently falling prices. But in a disturbing parallel to the financial sector’s subprime crisis, the growing distance between supermarkets and their suppliers has also opened the door to fraud on a scale that as yet can only be guessed at. The meat used in these products now travels across multiple borders and through myriad companies. Regulators do not have the resources to keep up. Only those who buy the processed products and sell them under their own brands can apply the pressure that will limit chances for fraud.

Just as with subprime, complicated, impersonal systems have bred fraud. Once upon a time, banks were impelled to lend responsibly, because if they did not their balance sheets would become filled with trash, and they would face bankruptcy. Then they discovered that they could pull a ruse — lend irresponsibly, and pass off the risk to someone else. Purchasers of subprime mortgage-backed securities thought they were buying a AAA grade product, as that is what ratings agencies passed them off as being. But it turns out they were just buying unsustainable trash. It is, of course, possible that the subprime crisis could have been avoided had the price of oil and other commodities not risen so steeply and precipitously, squeezing consumers’ budgets.


But sooner or later, the banks’ irresponsibility would have come home to roost, and the ruse would have collapsed. If it hadn’t been ballooning commodities prices, it would have been something else.

Similarly, in an equally sprawling and disconnected system — the global food supply chain — anonymity has bred irresponsibility once again. Retailers claim to have been misled. Meat processors and food manufacturers claim to have been misled too. But somewhere along the line, someone is lying. Someone, at some point decided that horse was a cheaper alternative to beef, someone tested it for taste, to affirm that it would be taken as an acceptable substitute. And someone decided that horse would enter the food chain, and that consumers could be fooled into thinking that it was beef. Would that be possible with a local butcher? Would it be possible for unwanted substances to penetrate the food chain if the supply chain was much shorter?

Maybe, but there are strong disincentives. With a shorter supply chain, it is not so easy to pass off the blame to someone else. If a local British butcher decides to substitute horse for beef, it would be more easily discoverable than if a sprawling multinational — whose abattoirs are located in Romania or Cyprus, but its customers in Britain, Spain, France and Italy — decided to do so. British abattoir workers would know, and might dissent. Butchers would be able to tell the difference, and most would have a serious problem with deceiving customers who they see face to face. A supermarket that sells meals packaged in plastic containers by other companies, has no such problem with deception. Customers don’t ever get to meet the person who butchered or cooked or shipped their ready meal. This provides a barrier of anonymity. There is no immediate embarrassment in deception carried out at distance. Simply, anonymity makes deception easier, and big, complex systems create anonymity.

In 2010, The Telegraph reported on some empirical research supporting this idea:

There is a growing body of research to support the logically obvious idea that humans become increasingly dishonest as cheating becomes easier:


From finding a £50 note on the floor to being accidentally given the answers to test questions, even normally honest people can suddenly become dishonest, it found.


But they will only cheat if it does not involve any work, said the academic study for the journal Psychological and Personality Science.


In an experiment on 84 students, researchers set up a trial involving a maths test on a computer, without telling them the reasons why they were doing it.


Half the students were warned the system was not working properly. If they pressed the space bar on the keyboard the answers would come up.


The other half were told that if they did not press the enter key immediately after seeing the question, then the answer would come up.


Overall, few cheated at all. But those who did not have to press a key to cheat were almost TEN times as likely to do so, said the researchers from the University of Toronto.


They said it was because pressing a key was like ‘intentionally’ trying to cheat while those who didn’t acted as if they were cheating by accident, so they did not feel they were making an immoral choice.


In a second test, the volunteers were tested on their willingness to help a fellow student with a disability complete an exam paper.


Half were told the way to volunteer was to follow an online link, the other half simply had to click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the screen.


Those who had to follow the link were five times less likely to volunteer to help, because it was easier for them to get out of it than the others who had a clear choice to make.


Study author Rimma Teper said: “People are more likely to cheat and make immoral decisions when their transgressions don’t involve an explicit action.”

I am coming to believe very strongly that as this century continues, and as systemic interconnectivity and complexity increases, we will see many more horse meat and subprime style scandals exploiting the anonymity of big systems.

Meanwhile, those who do not wish to be exposed to such counterparty risk will avoid such complexity like the plague.


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Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:07 | 3258314 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Too big to trust...

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:21 | 3258343 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

The 1/4 pounder has been pipped at the post by the new, giant size, 1/4 horse.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:38 | 3258389 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture


Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:46 | 3258405 markmotive
markmotive's picture

We're running out of basic foods so horsemeat could one day be a luxury.

The global wild fishcatch has plateaued. Next will be land-based food production.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 02:36 | 3258642 DJ Happy Ending
DJ Happy Ending's picture

Big unwieldy systems are a psychopath's best friend.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:49 | 3258801 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Buy local.  You'll know what you're getting and you'll be voting for much needed decentralization.

Decentralization.  The only "ism" that matters.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:23 | 3258826 DOT
DOT's picture

Decentralizationism Bitchez!



Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:04 | 3259589 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

But people is not know what is good, central State Apparatus is necessity to manage means of production. All must kneel at alter of big government and serve high priests, even if eat contamination beef. All hail to central power and submit!

(Boris is infuse dialog with caustic sarcasm, please is do not down for thumbs!)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 15:06 | 3260546 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

I appreciate the necessity for thickly veiled satire when discussing the state, the party and other sacred entities.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:08 | 3259609 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

For Boris, today is horsemeat luxury. When run out, must eat neighbor cat (after first is shave, but not over-cook).

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:57 | 3258520 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Roy Rogers bitchez! The double horse burger.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:28 | 3258958 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture

And do you want fries, fruit, or saddle with that?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:06 | 3259600 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

"HO-RSES! WE ARE EAT HO-RSES!" - Charlton Heston, who is raise thoroughbred horse

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:10 | 3259626 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

There are INFINITELY more cattle than horses, horses are more costly to raise and maintain, so why the switch/uproar ??

I paid for a KIA and they gave me a Lexus.....those bastards.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:44 | 3258402 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Quarter Horse Burger...i like it

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:25 | 3258360 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture
The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a horse walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the horse's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!" "Not really," said the horse. "Your name is written inside the cover."
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:16 | 3258928 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I once asked my dad 'What's a non-performing loan?', and he answered by way of analogy that a horse at the glue factory is a non-performing race horse... except that now instead of glue-base it's become Mcfood. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 21:18 | 3261831 Long_Xau
Long_Xau's picture

Indian media reports cow flesh found in horse meat products in Europe.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:30 | 3258571 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

The people won't care about horsemeat in their burgers as long as they can still get a side order of Extra Big-Ass Fries™.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:46 | 3258713 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture

I can't believe its not udders!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:44 | 3258742 Shevva
Shevva's picture

Doctor told me have to watch what I eat, so I bought a ticket to the track.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:41 | 3258863 CPL
CPL's picture

I got the trots after eating at Burger King once.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:40 | 3258862 CPL
CPL's picture

Only the freshest chicken lips and asses for Sir'ah.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:48 | 3258745 Seer
Seer's picture

I think that most have seen this equation from me:


That said, there's going to be more and more ponies given up, and despite all the "give the ponies a home" foundations out there, I suspect that horse meat WILL be on the menu for a while (in the not-to-distant future).

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:10 | 3258322 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I'm not sure I agree that anonymity is the problem.  I tend to think it is influence.  If you pay off the cops (regulators), you can sell horse meat and then when someone else catches on, you grease your local law maker and have him rewrite the law to increase the minimum required horse meat content in beef.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:46 | 3258407 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

That's assuming there's enuf regulators to inspect. Funny they're always under staffed.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:55 | 3258748 Seer
Seer's picture

It's easier to see down a straight path than one that's got lots of turns.  The more links there are, the more crooked the road and the harder for anyone to see.  With fewer links you're going to have more people (outside the production/distribution chain) who are willing to poke around the corner of a bend or two; I'm thinking, then, that while there can/will be local abuses, such abuse will be hard to conceal and less-likely to result in the levels of distortion that we're seeing with these BIG systems.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:11 | 3258323 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Horsemeat.....Don't knock it til you ride it.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:13 | 3258327 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"I've had better food at the ballgame, you know? This steak still has marks from where the jockey was hitting it."  Caddyshack.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:17 | 3258337 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Caddyshack& Scarface(directors cut) and bag of Doritoes.  I'm sitting pretty.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:08 | 3258914 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Dan Quayle, is that you?

No 'e' in that factory food nightmare known as Doritos.


Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:26 | 3258364 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Horsemeat.....Don't knock it til you ride it.

That's how they've gotten away with selling it as beef: there's nothing riding on it.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:10 | 3258452 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Everyone is up in arms about the horse meat yet we are all more or less oblivious to the absolute crap contained in the food chain overall.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:58 | 3258523 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

I'm calling you out on the bad punnage. Puns can only go so far. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:05 | 3258755 Seer
Seer's picture

Quit being an Ass!  Oh, wait!  You've definitely got room for concern here, we've moved into the equine food class :-)

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:44 | 3258870 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


I'm calling you out on the bad punnage. Puns can only go so far.

Gimme a bray-k. They can't all be whinniers.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:31 | 3258377 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

Make sure it's well dun.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:32 | 3258378 rehypothecator
rehypothecator's picture

I've ridden a horse, but I haven't "ridden" a "horse."  

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:51 | 3258884 duo
duo's picture

stick your Whole Foods "Organic" olive oil in the fridge.  If it's still liquid at 40 F, it ain't olive oil.  It's probably mixed 50-50 with GMO corn oil.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:19 | 3258330 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Pinto or Arabian for lunch? At least step out of the cloud you junkster. You look like an idiot attacking me with no game!

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:26 | 3258359 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

I bridle at junksters dumping and bolting too.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:29 | 3258372 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 A fine person you are. Thanks for your honesty.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:37 | 3258386 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

Anonymous junksters need to pony up. They mustang out with the wrong people. Don't let them stirrup your emotions.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:09 | 3258533 Stuffs And Stuff
Stuffs And Stuff's picture


Stirrups aren't for emotions - They're for wrists and ankles, my friend.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:37 | 3258794 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture


 Pinto or Arabian for lunch?

Last time I had Pinto, there was an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:50 | 3259507 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

That's what she said!

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:19 | 3258341 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

This will go on until the central banks vote 'neigh' on the next QE.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:22 | 3258347 THX 1178
THX 1178's picture

You're beating a dead horse by saying that on ZH.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:20 | 3258342 tom a taxpayer
tom a taxpayer's picture

Monsieur, would you like Grey Poupon with your horsemeat?

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:40 | 3258394 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

No thank you, Garcon. I'll try the horse d'oeuvres instead.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:21 | 3258344 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Distance, whether spatial or via intervening links in the chain, is great for reducing guilt.

That way you don't have to look 'em in the eye after you fuck 'em...

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:21 | 3258346 Smuckers
Smuckers's picture

The more complex a system, the more catastrophic the failure.

But we gotta make a buck somehow, we need an inverse horse-shoes ETF.


Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:27 | 3258367 espirit
espirit's picture

Upside down is bad luck.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:24 | 3258350 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture
Q: What kind of horses go out after dusk? A: Nightmares! Q: What did the teacher say when the horse walked into her class? A: "Why the long face?"
Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:37 | 3258388 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

It was a bartender, actually, who asked "why the long face", but whatever.

Remember it's not a lie if you believe it (and your tongue can't tell the difference).


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:00 | 3258524 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Remember it's not a lie if you beef-lieve it 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:08 | 3258757 Seer
Seer's picture

Ah, subtle misdirection- shift away from equine-speak, you Ass! :-)

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:24 | 3258353 espirit
espirit's picture

I think I'll go back to grinding cuts of known quality, rather than taking what's being offered.

That's leverege.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:24 | 3258355 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

It is all MERS ...... Fraud everywhere

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:27 | 3258369 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

MERS eat oats......

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:33 | 3258380 espirit
espirit's picture

I up arrowed you that one.  Good, very good.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:30 | 3258374 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


It is all MERS ...... Fraud everywhere

I think you mean it's all MARES.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:12 | 3258455 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

I hear about a fellow who ate horse meat late in the evening and ended up having nightMARES. (I should self delete....that's terrible).

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:05 | 3258530 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

Smoke and MERS.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:41 | 3258398 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

....And little lambs eat ivy, a kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:35 | 3258706 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Is she cute? (and tasty?)

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:37 | 3258387 booboo
booboo's picture

so the way I read it if I actually don't physically kick the stool out from under Corzine but allow his legs to finally give out I would feel better about it? Nah, I think I'm pushing the space bar anyway.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:44 | 3258404 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

+1 booboo, say hello to "Honey" for me.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:41 | 3258390 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

americans at every level of society are liars....this paves the way for the nazi state....americans are nazis because they love lies and control, seeing themselves as the gestapo agent to enforce law and order....and privy to reams of personal information on their enemies....

they love their cherished lies about lone nut gunmen, naturally born citizens who have indonesian citizenship and foreign births, economic statistics, airplanes crashing in pentagons, and on and on.....they lie and love to be lied to because it is seen as the path to power....

it will all end horribly.

ps. one stupid bitch tried to tell me that a secretary she sold me was the property of john barrymore, sr when the item was made c. 1982.....and he died in the 1940s....people are liars....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:19 | 3258464 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Are you saying we're looking like how a population can be handheld into committing and excusing genocide, kinda like WW2 Germany?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:36 | 3258709 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Search for "Stanley Milgram"...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 03:58 | 3258683 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' are duplicitous.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:26 | 3259091 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


Maybe it was Drew Barrymore's Play-Skool desk.

There's this saying called 'caveat emptor'. Learn it.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:27 | 3259094 toys for tits
toys for tits's picture

You're ranting about Americans because one person tricked you into buying a "secretary" that wasn't as old as you thought.

You should have checked the teeth.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:20 | 3259664 falak pema
falak pema's picture

coming from you that sounds odd; i'd have said : check her tits!

toys for boys! Horsemeat and teeth are for men from Stalingrad trenches. 

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:40 | 3258396 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

The zombie horde has won.  I can't even tell if I care about this, nor what I would do about it if I did.  I think I'll have some more pink slime, please.

It all tastes like chicken to me at this point.


Tue, 02/19/2013 - 23:49 | 3258415 Herkimer Jerkimer
Herkimer Jerkimer's picture




Soylent Green is Horse!


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:08 | 3258439 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

"Would that be possible with a local butcher? "

Ever see the movie "Motel Hell"?

That was pretty much the plot.

And this seems applicable :

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. --
Otto von Bismarck

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:41 | 3258796 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters.

Certainly Rory Calhoun's most delicious role.

Who could ever forget the famous chainsaw killer wearing a pig's head scene? There wasn't a dry seat in the house.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:49 | 3258877 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

"I ......... used ....... preservatives..."

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:06 | 3258911 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

That was the first thing I ever saw back when I first got cable.

It made me think, really, this is what cable is all about?

Things haven't changed much. Watching any news channel, and many of the shows are the equivalent of making sausage.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:05 | 3258445 reader2010
reader2010's picture

As long as they don't serve human meat,  the fast-food world is still filled with golden arches. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:16 | 3258461 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

Wait a minute. I thought if we kept the government out of just about all aspects of business that thing would blossom forth and everything would be wonderful. If we gave free enterprise free reign then there would be no problems. You know self regulation and all that. So what's this shit with the horse meat?

I'm becoming disillusioned. First we get Wall Street and the too big to fail banks who don't apparently need any regulation (but they need massive handouts). We have coal mines with explosions, cave-ins and deaths. Oil rig disasters in the Gulf of Mexico. Continuous illness and deaths from various poisoned food. But we're told that corporations have too much regulation and it's stiffing growth. This shit make a libertarian have seconds thoughts

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 03:33 | 3258667 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

It's funny how horse meat content has risen with CRUSHING TAXES. I wonder if there is a fucking correlation? This isn't capitalism, bro. This is rape and pillage. Enjoy your horse.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:16 | 3258695 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Yeah, yeah, always an exterior cause to explain this or that. That perfect system can not fail because of intrinsic properties. It fails because of alien influence.

'Americanism' at work.

So here, it is taxes. Later, it will be too many people on Earth to feed. Later, it will be human nature as deep inside, all people are compulsional cheaters...

Anything goes. Best thing with 'americans': they have failed now to renew their propaganda to explain failures for ages by now.
They still keep partying as if it was 1777.

They went round all their funny explanations but they cling to them.

Future is told: considering that 'americans' run a business of extorting the weak, farming the poor, when the ability of bambozling is lost, only brute force remains to coerce people.

Welcome to an 'american' world. It is a cosy place, you'll see.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:34 | 3258971 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous said:

Yeah, yeah, always an exterior cause to explain this or that. That perfect system can not fail because of intrinsic properties. It fails because of alien influence.

Quite telling. Sounds exactly like the system you utilize on the basis daily to flee self indiction.

'Americanism' at work.

Description gives matches to the tee on your comments pattern. Do consider  to changing your handle to AnAmericAnonymous. It gives the better congruence.

They went round all their funny explanations but they cling to them.

Laughable. Wok calling the cooking marmit black.

Consider that AnAnonymous, in addition to managing Chinese citizenism fastfood franchise Just Killed Cat, runs a business of distorting the fabled past and farming the myth. Wonders if stir fried scapegoat appears on the menu at JKC.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:54 | 3258768 Acet
Acet's picture

"It's funny how horse meat content has risen with CRUSHING INFLATION & CORRUPTION."

Here, I corrected it for you.

Product substitution is part of the same process of food inflation as reducing package sizes but keeping the same price is. Wasn't watered down beer in an article in ZH just the other day?

It just so happens that in this specific case it's actually illegal in most countries to sell horse meat as beef. If this had been some different food ingredient that had been replaced by a cheaper one, nobody would've battered an eye (in fact, a very common and yet totally legal scam is to inject water in chicken and sell it as chicken by weight, when in fact a lot of the weight is water).

Blaming it on taxes is symbolic of a favored explanation looking for a problem to attach itself to.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:58 | 3259543 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

"inject water in chicken and sell it as chicken by weight"

Bingo. And that chicken someday will be raised without a head attached.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:40 | 3258710 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

How many millions of FRNs, Euros, etc are gonna be lost by every company associated with this fiasco?

Methinks that suggesting a willingness to steal pennies, drachmas, etc and then getting yer name, honeor, reputation, etc  dragged through the mud is not a sound business plan.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:22 | 3258469 joego1
joego1's picture

Horse meat, in  a couple of years they will be begging for it.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:32 | 3258486 hannah
hannah's picture

i give everyone a little tidbit i learned long ago...dont buy your meat from a butchershop next to a barbershop. the meat is always a bit stringy.....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:38 | 3258496 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

When the general public sees the rich people at the top being greedy, and outright lying, cheating on taxes, perpetrating all sorts of illegal and immoral business practices and getting away with it, that makes it easier for the less fortunate to rationalize gaming their circles of influence any way they can. And less fortunate can be relative at any scale.

Here's an interesting case in point :

Do you think there might be many more just like him in the circle of influence he came from? I wouldn't be surprised if there was some pretty seriously corrupt parenting evaluators, supervised visitation people, and DV advocate lawyers that may have known and worked with that man and perverted justice in similar ways in that court system where children's lives were churned.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:56 | 3258519 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

I even heard about a case in Nevada where an SV type person unfairly churned a 12 yr. old boys life by incentivizing and suborning perjury in a legal matter that practically destroyed the boys life. As a result he tried to commit suicide as he had been unfairly accused of something despicable but untrue. When that case got serious attention as a result, it was discovered that the perjury had been suborned from the babysitter by the SV person and charges were brought against the SV woman. How sick and twisted is that? Do you think there might be some kind of connection in those circles of influence?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:03 | 3258527 Rompoculos
Rompoculos's picture

"There is a growing body of research to support the logically obvious idea that humans become increasingly dishonest as cheating becomes easier"

One for the ages.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:08 | 3258692 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' run a program of human selection.

'Americanism' includes duplicity as a value. This from the start.

People whose genetic make up inclines them to duplicity find a cultural reinforcement thanks to 'americanism'

Trouble for 'americans': they miscalculated that people with an 'american' potential are to be found in the whole humanity.

More and more 'americans' to come by.

'Americanism', the best thing to have ever happen to humanity.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:10 | 3258809 Zwelgje
Zwelgje's picture

"Trouble for 'americans': they miscalculated that people with an 'american' potential are to be found in the whole humanity."

I reckon it is the other way around. 'Americans' know they can get away with it because they know that deep down most two-legs are like what you describe as 'american' and just moan about it since they're lower on the foodchain.

So please rename your schtick.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:22 | 3258823 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Nah. 'Americans' have pushed other human beings to make room for themselves. Problem: they have been so successful the world is crowded with 'americans'.

The King was not like the 'americans'. Many before the 'american' age were not like the 'americans'.

And if that was so easy for 'americans' to get away with because of communaulity, they would not stack on guns and weapons as they have been doing.

Free people can drop and take up weapons.

Extorters of the weak and farmers of the poor must cling to their guns. They have no other options.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:33 | 3258848 Zwelgje
Zwelgje's picture

The world is your mirror (you get what you give etc.) and there are always bigger fish. And extorting the weak and farming the poor has been going on since Ancient Egypt. IMHO you get into trouble with or because of 'americans' when you have more or less the same mindset.

In this day and age Europe and America with their dominions are just the very best in this game of what you call 'americanism'. 


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:35 | 3259121 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


He was raised on melamine instead of milk.

He can't help it.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:54 | 3258891 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Conquer or be conquered bitches.  It's a jungle.  Deal with it you loser.

Story of Civilization

Dutch were the Pilgrams.  From Holland.  I am Scottish and Welsh.  English, Arabian, every nationality on earth is in America today.  Conquering versus sure death was the dilemma. 



Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:14 | 3258542 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Da Camptown ladies sing dis song, doo-dah, doo-dah....

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:29 | 3258569 q99x2
q99x2's picture

The banks own the market indexes so you don't have to worry about that.

Everything will be ok until one day no one will be able to get to their money--wherever it resides. Access will be militarily blocked. At that point you better be where you are going.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 01:56 | 3258600 indio007
indio007's picture

I bet the horses that where eaten were claiming to be misled all the way to slaughter.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:52 | 3258747 css1971
css1971's picture

That's what humans do.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:48 | 3258800 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I miss poor old Boxer.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 02:03 | 3258611 darteaus
darteaus's picture

Horses are being slaughtered because owners can't afford to feed them.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:45 | 3258797 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Or in a lot of cases, horses are simply rounded up in the wild and shipped off for parts unknown. Only to then become 'parts unkonwn' in some foreign land.

That is to say, wild horses are being 'adopted' and sent to new homes in foreign lands.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 02:05 | 3258614 Rusty Trombone
Rusty Trombone's picture

Unbridled greed. 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 02:18 | 3258628 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Just say "neigh" to horsemeat.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 02:12 | 3258618 adr
adr's picture

I'm sure that massive spike from 2000 on has nothing to do with the repeal of Glass Steagall and passing the Commodities Futures Modernization Act.

Nah, can't be. That's a lunatic fringe conspiracy theory.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:00 | 3258686 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

'American' icon, Adam Smith, asked why work with this or that butcher. 'Americans' once again answered to the question.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:01 | 3258688 ThorAss
ThorAss's picture

C'mon it's not horsemeat .... it's subprime beef!

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:05 | 3258690 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Funny how 'americans' are so prone to dismiss their own says to maintain their propaganda and fantasy.

Story says that sellers are left to check the cargo by themselves and/or local authorities.

Local government is efficient, private sector will do it as good as public sector.

One thing to ever remember: 'americans' are 'americans', wherever they are, they reproduce 'american' patterns.

One pattern is to blame 'americans' working in a different sector for behaving the 'american' way.

Simply situational: every 'american' on this board if they had worked the meat sector in positions to sell horse meat for beef meat, they would have done it.

For 'americans' do the 'american' thing wherever they are.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:48 | 3258744 JuicedGamma
JuicedGamma's picture

What the FUCK are you even talking about?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:24 | 3258831 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Keep it a secret, I wrote about that word that starts with an A.

You know, the word 'americans' would prefer not to see exposed as the main driver for the current situation.


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:00 | 3259564 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Chit is bubbling up out of your zippers.

Pull finger, release energy into your own Dutch O-Van

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:04 | 3258753 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Someone has slipped you bath salts.  Don't leave the house and don't answer the door.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:24 | 3258754 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture
Exitus Acta Probat

02/02/2009 in Warhammer 40K 

Exitus Acta Probat

The outcome justifies the deed.

I am the hunter. The stalker, the killer, parodies of any sinister contraption your mind may perceive me as. You see that is what I am, a contraption, some sort of device as you may call it, a programmed machination or an unthinking drone. A machine built for killing. Manufactured for the sole purpose to perfect the art of elimination of a sole person, the one target. Adept in the combined skills of stealth and evasion, marksmanship and combat, the Imperium’s best, only serviced into action when control has surpassed the abilities of more, unsubtle factions.


I am the feared, the treacherous. Some may see me as evil, even heretical. But they’d never lived to tell the tale. Some don’t even see me at all. In this petty exchange of wars and brute force, people forget who the true master is. The truthful master is I, the concealed monster within. It is I who hold the puppet strings, and it is I who hath the power to cut them. One shot. Beware if you’re the enemy, the wanted bounty or the condemned false hero, you are the centrepiece for my crosshair.

For I am assassin.

Vindicare, or to avenge, and the avenger is the assassin’s crude title. Released from the fresh training grounds of the Officio Assassinorum, beneath Imperium’s reach, blind fools on false pedestals of glory. Unnoticed and uncared for, the cult breeds its finest warriors of the temples Callidus, Culexus, Eversor and the Vindicare. Born from the finest exemplarities, bred into furnaces of the ultimate killing machine."

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:23 | 3258825 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 04:25 | 3258700 Spigot
Spigot's picture

What they are NOT testing for is human DNA. Meat operations are owned pretty much lock, stock and barrel by the Mob. When "problems" need to be disposed of, you can guess where they end up very late at night. Killing, bleeding, gutting, sawing and hacking 100's of animals a day, every day for weeks and months and years invites a certain callousness of attitude about death. And there are those who actually enjoy the process, maybe too much so.

Horses? Sure. People? That too...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:36 | 3258763 Seer
Seer's picture

"Killing, bleeding, gutting, sawing and hacking 100's of animals a day, every day for weeks and months and years invites a certain callousness of attitude about death."

Well, there's always another side, another emotional potentiality here.  My abattoir is pretty good.  They KNOW what their job is.  And, they actually have to face those that hand over their livestock to them.  RESPECT in partnership.  REVERENCE for the animals of which we give and get life from.


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:49 | 3258802 Spigot
Spigot's picture

Possibly true to a degree. Not saying every butcher is a ... butcher. But the emotional trauma of slaughtering animals is significant for most emotionally health people. If there is a way of doing it which does not dehumanize the person, and as well does not minimize the sacrifice, that would be a good thing IMO.

But on the south side of Chigaco, in the killing shoots, wading in the foot deep blood, in the meat packing isles, they do not have time to say a prayer, or thank the animal.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:43 | 3259142 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Like saying a carpenter grieves when he wallows in sawdust...

Meat packers know they don't work at a petting zoo.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:25 | 3258728 falak pema
falak pema's picture

this thread about commodity price MANIPULATION under oligarchy capitalism, its similarities with the banking world, or for that matter with the oil oligarchy world or the arms proliferation world, is based on one fundamental POWER principle:

You obtain dominant position NOT to use economies of scale and technology to bring the price down to the consumer; but to increase the oligarchy margin for the power broker, (oil firm, food firm, mega retail chain, bank), so that the end user consumer gets doubly screwed : he pays more and the quality goes down as his welfare is the avowed holy grail of the construct, ONLY IN NAME.

When kings were king, this principle was openly practiced in feudal evidence, they had divine protection.

Now our political kings hide behind the oligarchy curtain, hailed as agents of human progress thru science and innovation, and pretend they serve the general interest, as our institutions have changed and they are our ELECTED; only to serve their own crony entrenched interests as their political leverage on the economic system is huge. 

But we will see this oligarchy concentration now occuring even in the Internet world soon; where Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have become the new Oligarchs of information dissemination world. Information manipulation will bring much power, right now being shared as this is an infant new frontier stage of this social evolution of huge potential. 

We are truly in Marx's capitalist horror show and Huxley's Brave new world, if we let the cancer continue to develop.

Aziz does not go far enuff in his demonstration of the Oligarchy construct worldwide, which we see winning the current war in front of our complacent eyes. 

The only solution is people's counter revolution to take back power from the Oligarchs. As all oligarchies die under their own corruption. People have to leverage that fact to reimpose their own power. And it has to come from winning back our institutions which are the bedrock of our society. No running away, every nation has to create more critical and active mechanisms of self defense. Armageddon is THEIR way out...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:42 | 3258761 Seer
Seer's picture

"You obtain dominant position NOT to use economies of scale and technology to bring the price down to the consumer; but to increase the oligarchy margin for the power broker,"

falak, "economies of scale" is a curse.  Its aim is always GROWTH.  This is Jevons Paradox in action.

I'd argue that because "economies of scale" (note that typical use of this phrase is about INCREASING; I've warned about it's REVERSING) increase transactional volume, and transactional volume means more ability to skim.  This is how the "refined" players, the financials, have done it.

Since transactional volume is in decline we're now seeing, as you note, manipulations in order to deliver "profits."  This differs very little from the recent (40+ years) economic smoke-and-mirrors manipulations.

"it has to come from winning back our institutions"

Um... those "institutions" were created by THEM.

"Armageddon is THEIR way out..."

No.  Armageddon is the consequence of a structural problem, of the perpetual-growth-on-a-finite-planet economic meme.  No amount of "honesty" can not rectify this (w/o it being required to completely dissolve the entire meme, which, really, is the same as Armageddon [the definition of, means "a great unveiling" (unmasking)].

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:02 | 3258765 falak pema
falak pema's picture

not questioning your take on the "economies of scale" meme; just saying since Rockafella n Ford days its been the formula for capitalism's rise AND its justification, as disseminator of the "middle class" welfare horizontal society, as opposed to old vertical european society of monarchies. 

It is also the logic of going down the technology unit cost reduction scale, of the "experience curve", so prevalent in Silicon Valley. SO its the basic guiding principle of expansionist consumerist society. 

 I know you don't believe thats the road of the future. You are a "deconsumerist".

Just saying its the road of the past that made America top dog with  a market homogenised the size of a continent! 

Armageddon is what happens when Roman legions could not be paid for! YOu went and beat up the neighbour. You are right its a structural problem of an empire construct that has only one logic : grow, grow grow...and thats why it digs its own grave in corruption. But, in that mindset the Caesars ALWAYS waged war to save their own skins. 

We are still in THAT mindset today, now run by our corporates who play at Caesar's legions. 

I beg to disagree, those institutions were made by the people, post colonial and post monarchial revolutions of 1776-1789. There is no place for oligarchical control in those constitutions. But its evolved in that direction with capital concentration. Remember those revolutions occured in agrarian societies and industrial capitalism was born subsequently. 

Anti armageddon philosophy is the very essence of people's meme, if they can avoid falling for the honey trap of becoming populist Caesars like Robespierre and Napoleon. That is the ever recurrent tragedy of society. We always fall for that trap. 

So we always head to Armageddon...but we have no choice but to try and avoid it, recurrently. After all, its the people's skin that gets burnt, not of the Oligarchs who never fight front line nor send their sons front line.

Sisyphus is us! 

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:34 | 3258734 Spawn of Cagliostro
Spawn of Cagliostro's picture

" Simply, anonymity makes deception easier, and big, complex systems create anonymity."

Sums up corporate business practices pretty succinctly.  Welcome to the Grand Fraud (again).

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 06:10 | 3258758 Seer
Seer's picture

"Get your goat."  It's got an interesting, and horse-related, origin.

Anyway... when do banksters start to enter This food chain?

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 07:46 | 3258799 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I believe 'pink slime' is already a major player in the food chain.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 08:58 | 3258896 DOT
DOT's picture

Who knew horses were fungible?

As poor old Boxer learned, at some point, on a long enough timeline...


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:14 | 3258927 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

I heard you really have to Pony up if you want to eat at that new PoloTM steakhouse.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:46 | 3258996 d edwards
d edwards's picture

Another horsemeat story?

Man, talk about beating a dead horse! :-D

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:28 | 3258956 whoknoz
whoknoz's picture

support DOT... be a Decentralizationismer...

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:29 | 3258961 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture


You're behind the curve on this one.

The issue is not "whatshittheyputinmymeat" - because lets face it - only acomplete moron buys microwave food and cheap mince from a supermarket that is offering it at a price 'too good to be true' - because it is.

The issue is the effect this is having on themeat market. With Sterling falling fast and the idiot environment secretary randomly and incorrectly blaming 'Bulgarians' - the chances of a trade war is high.

Worse still - thanks to the recent Cameron speech about an EU referedum - business is already nervous about investing in Britain - hence the falling pound.

This is a perfect storm brewing - butchers have queues which have not been seen since the war and supermarkets are throwing out tonnes of processed food.

The consequences are obvious - only the people in power cannot see it coming.

I will not accept the expected and eventual "we couldn't have seen this coming" as it's perfectly clear what lies ahead. Just remember this.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:50 | 3259001 lindaamick
lindaamick's picture

All good capitalists should admire this situation.  Cost cutting through horsemeat substitution.  A great benefit to the bottom line. 

Chapter 2 is underway questioning the validity of the cost cutting measure.   Maybe laws were violated.

No Problem.  No one is accountable.  Complex Supply Chains make that so. 

A small fine will be exacted and back slapping all around for the continuation of the cost cutting measure.


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:27 | 3259097 smacker
smacker's picture



The food supply chains may be long these days but that is a blustering smokescreen. It has never prevented national governments (eg the UK Govt) from ensuring that each vendor of meat products in the country is lawfully responsible for what he sells with no ifs and buts, eg: make the supermarkets responsible for the products they sell, all the way up the supply chain. Such regulations would ensure that each link in the supply chain from the point of importation down to the end-retailer implemented random testing procedures.

It's not rocket science. But as usual, government has failed in its duty leading to where we are today.

Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:37 | 3259125 tnquake
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:04 | 3259232 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

The Law of Unintended Consequences...

A law which bans horses from Romanian roads might be the reason behind the fraudulent sales of horse meat on the European beef market, as hundreds of thousands of animals were sent to the abbatoir when the country’s road rules changed, reports the Independent.

Read more: Horseburgers scandal: Mystery supermarket meat in the UK suspected to be from Romanian donkeys - TNT Magazine Pay to bury tons of meat when hamburger retails for $5.00 lb.? Duh. I'll bet some poor Romanian farmer who can't afford a truck would rather have his lasagna back pulling a cart.
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