The organization suggests that a 50% price hike on these beverages could lead to healthier societies worldwide.
In a news release on Tuesday, the WHO cited a 2017 study to support its proposal. The study claimed that the recommended tax increases could "help avert over 21 million deaths over 50 years and generate nearly US$17 trillion in additional revenues."
This amount is equivalent to the total government revenue of eight of the world's largest economies in a single year.
However, critics argue that the WHO's primary concern is not public health but the potential for $17 trillion in new revenue. They suggest that the organization views individuals as mere statistical pawns, manipulated to generate tax dollars.
Critics fear that the WHO's approach could lead to further taxes on other products, using health as a justification to increase government revenue and power while reducing individual freedom.
Dr. Rüdiger Krech, WHO's director of health promotion, defended the proposal, stating, "Taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations.
It has a positive ripple effect across society — less disease and debilitation and revenue for governments to provide public services. In the case of alcohol, taxes also help prevent violence and road traffic injuries."
However, critics argue that the WHO's proposal could effectively outlaw alcohol and soda for the economically disadvantaged, making these products a luxury only the wealthy can afford. They draw parallels with Prohibition, suggesting that such measures could lead to a rise in crime and illegal trade.
Critics also question the WHO's affiliations, suggesting that the organization is influenced by the World Economic Forum and China. They argue that these entities are attempting to control individual rights and freedoms.
While the WHO's proposal aims to improve public health and generate revenue, it has sparked a debate about individual freedoms, economic inequality, and the role of international organizations in shaping public policy. The original article was published on The Western Journal.