- McLibel -

dishonest use of irrelevant fact

Posted by: David ( Japan ) on January 28, 1997 at 19:17:12:

In Reply to: Lets get out there and do it! posted by Cathy on October 08, 1996 at 02:52:12:

> > I've just been reading the "fact"sheet which apparently started
> > all this nonsense. Personally, I find it to be absolute nonsense.

> > Besides generally being a load of bleeding-heart whining about
> > rich people having more than poor people, some of the assertions
> > it contains are total rubbish.

> > For example, the first sidebar, titled "GROSS MISUSE OF RESOURCES",
> > asserts that the alleged waste of the equivalent of $20 billion
> > would be enough to "feed, clothe and house the world's entire
> > population for one year." Let's see now... Total world population
> > now exceeds 5 billion. So it would only take $4 per person per year
> > to feed, clothe and house the world's entire population, right?
> > Give me a break!!

> Unlike in the US, where a billion means 'a thousand million', the
> traditional UK definition of a billion is 'one million million
> i.e. 1,000,000,000,000 (should be 12 0's) (check the Oxford dictionary
> if you don't believe this). In 1987 world population reached
> 5,000 million (this site says the factsheet was written in 1986).
> 20,000,000,000,000 divided by 5,000,000,000 = 4,000. In other words
> not $4 per person per year, but $4,000 per person per year. Sounds to
> me like it would be quite possible to feed someone for a year on
> that amount.

Can it really be correct to assert that the 20 billion dollars mentioned
in the factsheet means 20,000,000,000,000 dollars? In the factsheet, 20 billion
dollars is given as the value of 124 million tons of grain, so if 20 billion means
20,000,000,000,000 then the writers of the factsheet are claiming that the value
of grain is 161,290 dollars per ton, or 18 dollars per quarter pound of grain!
It seems to me that defenders of the anti-McDonalds campaign would do their cause
a more good by being honest and admit mistakes and discrepancies when they are
out, rather than make dishonest use of irrelevant fact (yes, a UK billion is
1,000,000,000,000 but this usage has long died out in favour of the American billion
of 1,000,000,000.)

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