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Nobel Prize Winner Predicts Rise of Veganism in 2014


Check out our follow up: Exclusive interviewDiscussion on the economics of food and future of veganism with Professor Alvin Roth


We predicted the rise of health-motivated veganism and vegan haute cuisine in 2014, but Nobel Prize winning economist (and a professor at Stanford and Harvard) Alvin Roth predicts that veganism will become the dominant paradigm in the near future–or in his own words, that “meat eating might become repugnant” to the general population. Could this really mean the rise of veganism as the new norm? In the latest issue of TIME magazine, columnist Joel Stein revealed some of Roth’s prediction for 2014.

Nobel Prize Winner Alvin Roth on the Rise of Veganism

Alvin Roth

Roth’s work deals with the concept of “repugnance” as the driving force in the market. Repugnance means that the public rejects the idea as a matter of course–it’s something that is not normalized in society. He reasons that as the horrors of factory farming and health concerns become more widespread, it is quite possible that meat eating will soon become the exception, not the norm.

“We already don’t eat whale. We think whales might be smart. The next question is cows,” Roth says. Most Americans would recoil from eating whale, and feel justified in criticizing the Japanese over whale and dolphin hunting. Most Americans also eat beef. This is possible not because humans evolved to eat only land mammals, or because whales are closer to us in appearance than cows. Both whales and cows are intelligent, social animals with distinct personalities and a range of emotions. The single biggest difference lies not in whales and cows themselves, but the way our society accepts eating one and rejects the other without rational inquiry. If the tide of social paradigm shifts, eating animals in general might be considered morally outrageous by all.

Nobel Prize Winner Alvin Roth on Rise of Veganism

Soon, vegan pride parades might become a thing of the past–as veganism becomes the norm, not the exception.

If Roth’s prediction is correct, vegan pride parades might become a thing of the past, as veganism becomes the norm, not the exception. But until then, we’ll be proud to keep spreading the message and showing that the kinder way of living is better for yourself, for the animals, and the environment.

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Photo: urbangarden via Flickr

Juhea Kim
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Juhea now lives in NYC with her Oreo cookie cat, Zeus. When she is not writing, she enjoys running in Central Park, yoga, and teaching Barre classes. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • Rick Brewer

    Virtually every person who drops meat from their diet causes — directly or indirectly — at least one other person to drop meat from their diet. Oftentimes more than one person and sometimes far more than one person.
    There is currently a rapidly accelerating chain reaction in progress that won’t be slowed down; not even by the most despicable desperate efforts of the meat & dairy industry (or the politicians they own).

    • This comment makes me happy and optimistic 🙂

    • Omondi Akura

      Absolutely! Who would have predicted that president Bill Clinton would become a vegan?

  • Betzi Doe

    This is wonderful news. It would be a great step toward a better world. We may all be a little kinder.

  • I have to agree! (And happy to see someone writing and sharing about this topic).
    I also believe vegetarianism and veganism are slowly becoming more and more popular and I wouldn’t be surprised 2014 becomes the year of a big switch…I’m at least hoping that will be the case! In the meantime we can only keep spreading the message because I do believe (as first comment says) when one person drops meat, at least one more person will follow and do the same 😉

  • BeeZeeEcoKid

    Waiting over 2 decades for this to happen… hopefully plant based lifestyle will be global norm still in my lifetime… it would make me a truly happy person and this world heaven finally…

  • Juhea Kim

    Don’t miss our follow-up article, an exclusive interview with Professor Roth about the economics of food–and the future of veganism!

  • Beth Aaron

    Hope…there is hope. When I ponder what it must have been like to survive through slavery, the Holocaust, or to look at America through the eyes of Native Americans, who were treated so barbarically, or the Irish who, during the potato famine, watched their loved ones slowly starve while food of plenty was sent to the English, I know that they knew what we feel today.

    How profound and indescribable to think that our domestication of animals paved the path through human history that littered it with such cruelties to humans and animals. This verse from Judaism and Vegetarianism says it all.

    “The relationship between the meat-based resource usage and war is dramatized by the following dialogue from Plato’s Republic:

    …and there will be animals of many other kinds, if people eat them?


    And living in this way we shall have much greater need of physicians than before?

    Much greater.

    And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough?

    Quite true.

    Then a slice of our neighbors’ land will be wanted by us for pasture and tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, like ourselves, they exceed the limit of necessity, and give themselves up to the unlimited accumulation of wealth?

    That, Socrates, will be inevitable.

    And so, we shall go to war, Glaucon. Shall we not?

    Most certainly, he replied.

    In summary, by adopting a diet that shows concern for the hungry people of the world, by eating in a way that will contribute to a more equitable sharing of food, energy, water and other resources, people can play a significant role in moving the world toward that day when “nations shall not learn war any more.”

    My good friend, an RN, and I, dream of finding a backer to open a small holistic medical facility that offers cleanses, a small vegan cafe, juice bar, garden, book store, and nutritional guidance for patients to learn to heal from the inside, out. We are in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and need something like this BADLY. Any ideas?

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