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Dottoré!

Vending Machine Blues: The Rising Cost Of A Healthy Break

"Dottoré, do you have 1.50 euro by any chance?"

Photo of a man buying a snack at a vending machine

Press F1 for a "healthy" snack

Mariateresa Fichele

Until recently, if you entered a Mental Health Center, you might be approached by a patient who asks you for a cigarette or a euro to buy a coffee.

But since they installed vending machines, things have changed, and the requests have become more specific.

The other day, a patient approached me and asked, "Dottoré, do you have 1.50 euro by any chance?"

"Pasquale, don't you think that's a bit much? What's the money for?"


"You always say that too much coffee makes me jittery! That’s why I thought I could have a decaffeinated coffee. But it tastes awful, so I thought it would go down well with a cookie, which costs 70 cents. But then I eat too much junk food, so instead of the cookie, I want to buy a ‘healthy’ snack, because they told me it won’t make me fat. But the healthy one costs 80 cents.

"Well, 80 plus 70 makes 1.50!

"You’re my doctor! I only do what you tell me to do!"

So I guess Pasquale got me. But he also made me understand something about economics: Consumerism turns out to be democratic, because it makes no distinction between the sick and the healthy.

Once supply is created, demand always follows. Even from crazy people.


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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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