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Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics: Can the McDouble save humanity?

Stephen Dubner Jul 3, 2013
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A Freakonomics fan recently wrote in with an interesting observation:

“It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald’s McDouble, at 390 calories, 23g (half a daily serving) of protein, 7 percent of daily fiber, 20 percent of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history.”

Could this possibly be?

Stephen Dubner organized a debate between Mother Jones food and agriculture columnist Tom Philpott and Blake Hurst, a farmer and Missouri Farm Bureau president.

Philpott argues that although the McDouble is cheap, its price doesn’t factor in all sorts of externalities: “In order to present to us all that $2 burger, you’re talking about a vast army of working poor people, and that doesn’t even get to the farmer who grew the corn and soy.”

Hurst thinks that the availability of such cheap calories is a good thing: “The biggest unreported story of the last three quarters of a century is the increase of the availability of food for the common person.”

We want to know what you think:

Is the McDouble an abomination?

Or is it a modern miracle?

Comment below, tell us on Facebook, or send us a tweet @MarketplaceAPM.  

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