Fitness and Economics

A few interesting news stories have recently caught my eye that have made me think about the economic impacts of fitness-oriented policies.

One was a report in The Tennessean about the relocation of Beretta USA’s manufacturing to Tennessee.  Beretta’s reputation leans heavily towards sporting firearms, and this seems to dovetail with a sympathy in a number of southern American states to outdoor sports (and with an antipathy in those same states to gun control).  A pro-outdoor sports policy, then, can have benefits for investment in a region.  It can also incentivize the promotion of environmental benefits, although this may or may not support economic growth.

The construction of infrastructure like rail-trails is another source of direct investment which has the potential for corollary benefits in a healthier populace and a more productive and stable workforce.  That said, promoting these outcomes may have other (perhaps more immediate negative economic impacts: For example, advertisements about the dangers of highly-sweetened drinks (and doubts as to the merit of diet drinks) may be expected to affect manufacturers of these products in a negative way.  Further, promoting healthy foodstuffs like melons may both encourage economic activity while worsening overall labour standards.

Fitness initiatives, then, can be said to have great potential for economic benefits but must be carefully calibrated not to create extra problems.

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