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TV Licence as subsidy for gyms

More than that actually
  [vote for,

Here in the monarchistic portion of the North Atlantic Archipelago, we have a system for funding the BBC called TV licencing. The basic idea is that people who own equipment able to receive television programmes which are broadcast pay a fee each year which funds the BBC. Some people dislike this idea and others, myself included, don't so much dislike it as see it as an irrelevant anachronism in today's world of DVDs, Bit Torrent, the iPlayer and YouTube, particularly bearing in mind that the BBC have specifically said that people watching TV on the iPlayer will not be prosecuted if they have no licence because they haven't the resources for working out who this is (probably just me?).

Anyway, why not do this instead? Keep the licence but charge it as a levy on goods and services which encourage sedentary leisure activities, such as games consoles (with the honourable exception of the Wii and probably some others, i'm not up on this), television sets and services connected to them such as cable, and maybe other things i've not thought of (not the internet though, because it's needed for teleworking, paying bills and the like as well as halfbaking and YouTube). Then, use that money to subsidise the likes of gym membership, exercise classes, leisure centres, swimming pools, sports clubs and other exercise-related activities. That way, sedentary, unhealthy leisure activities get more expensive as a deterrant and healthy leisure activities get cheaper.

Obviously we have to declare an interest here because of the Yoga, but we are doing this because we believe it's a good thing as well as making a living.

nineteenthly, Nov 17 2008

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       I like the idea of linking the licence to specific goods and services - e.g. if you buy a new TV, a percentage of that cost goes to fund the BBC - likewise radios and other receiver equipment.   

       The downside of that is that it links funding to new equipment purchases - which isn't a 'good' thing in ecology terms.   

       What I don't get is that you're using this money both to fund the BBC, and also to subsidise gym membership - is there enough to go around?
zen_tom, Nov 17 2008

       I thought it was that the licence fee should be scrapped and people who buy gym memberships should pay an extra amount which is used to fund the BBC, on the grounds that they've obviously got more money than they know what to do with.
hippo, Nov 17 2008

       I've probably given it a misleading title. It's not so much gyms as any kind of exercise which tends to improve health, and clearly people can do nasty things to themselves in various ways through exercise. What i want is a way to balance couch potato behaviour with more expensive activities of other kinds. Whereas i get most of my exercise through lugging heavy loads around, walking everywhere, digging large holes and so forth, most people haven't enough time to do that, but they can find time to play football or squash, go swimming, do pilates and other things. I want to make these things cheaper and watching TV, DVDs and playing video games more expensive. For that reason, i would like to make the licence fee more expensive and introduce something similar for such things as games consoles, television-connected entertainment and other things which, though often worthwhile, tend to encourage a sedentary lifestyle.   

       The BBC gets the same money per capita. I think people would be prepared to pay more because they're very attached to that sort of thing, and if not, that's not a problem because instead of sitting around at home they can go out and play, thereby, for example, making it more likely that we could do things like win Wimbledon and have local players in football teams.   

       [zen_tom], i take your point about the equipment. This has long interested me because of situations like pilates versus Yoga. With pilates, there's often equipment so it sort of fetishises the activity and people end up paying for it one way or the other. With Yoga, there can be an attempt to make peripheral profits from, for example, Bikram or special equipment, but it's not as central to the activity. Another reason we're skint of course, but maybe actually creating some kind of lifestyle accoutrements would persuade people to do more in that direction. It's influenced me in the past, so i'm not being patronising.
nineteenthly, Nov 17 2008

       Is the fact that you have such contempt for fitness a clue to why you call yourself "hippo"?
neuro, Dec 08 2008

       //i get most of my exercise through lugging heavy loads around, walking everywhere, digging large holes //
Are you a husky, [19thly]?
coprocephalous, Dec 08 2008

       Not at present, no.
nineteenthly, Dec 08 2008


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