Does it matter how tall Rishi Sunak is?

Does it matter that Rishi Sunak is the shortest male UK Prime Minister since Winston Churchill? Of course not. I made a two-part video in response to this item in The Guardian:

See various links below.

Products and solutions for tall people

Besides what I say in the video about fashion effects, could it even be that the more westernized a society is, the more emphasis it places on height? White people tend to be taller. Chinese people and other Asians have not only been undergoing surgery to become taller but also to make their eyes look more western (Caucasian).

There is also a north-south height difference within continental Europe. The southern countries tended to be poorer. People in prosperous egalitarian countries tend to be taller. But what about the Masai? As Majid Ezzati states, genetic factors also play a role. I’ll come back to that.

If you put too much emphasis on the belief that tall people are more capable, then you start disadvantaging shorter people. That way, the belief turns into reality. This is how discrimination works. It’s why black people suffered more during the pandemic than whites, for example.

Besides, having a lot of tall people carries a high environmental burden as tall people take up more space in transport and require more resources (bigger furniture, more fabric for clothes, more food).

For the record, I’m Dutch and my dad was a milkman until I was 12 or 13 or so, so I grew up on lots and lots of dairy. So did my two younger sisters, though it likely applied more strongly to me. I am as tall as Rishi Sunak. For a long time, I was the youngest and the tallest in my classes because I had relatively long legs (fast runner). As of my teens, that changed and I was no longer the tallest at all. Both my sisters are taller than I am. They are Nordic/Germanic types, whereas I have more southern European looks. We have French and Nordic as well as Germanic heritage in the family.

I remember the Dutch school milk program that Majid Ezzati mentions in item in The Guardian from when I was a child. I don’t think it’s still running. The UK should introduce it. Make it creamy Chocomel or the like. Then kids will see it as a treat, while they get important nutrients at the same time. They can have it during their 10:30 break or at the start of their classes in the morning. You can fortify milk too, can’t you? This way you get big benefits at a doable cost and it’s simple to implement. Lactose-intolerant kids can have oat milk instead.


“Why no adult stunting penalty or height premium? Estimates from native Amazonians in Bolivia” by
Ricardo Godoy, Oyunbileg Magvanjav, Colleen Nyberg, Dan T A Eisenberg, Thomas W McDade, William R Leonard, Victoria Reyes-García, Tomás Huanca, Susan Tanner, Clarence Gravlee (TAPS Bolivia Study Team)

“Why are the Dutch so tall?” by BBC

About height reduction surgery in the Netherlands:
“7 centimeter korter: lange kinderen laten groeischijf kapotmaken” by NOS Nieuws

“Reduction of excessive height in boys by bilateral percutaneous epiphysiodesis around the knee” by
Roelof J Odink,Willem Jan Gerver, Minne Heeg, Catrienus W Rouwé,Willie M Bakker van Waarde and Pieter J Sauer

“Would you have your legs broken to make yourself taller? The men who go through hell for a little extra height” by Simon Usborne

“New insight on height, arthritis” by Peter Reuell

“Science says being tall could make you richer and more successful — here’s why” by Shana Lebowitz

“The Stature of the Self-Employed and its Premium” by Cornelius A. Rietveld, Jolanda Hessels and Peter van der Zwan

“The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height” by Nicola Persico, Andrew Postlewaite and Dan Silverman

“Stature and status: height, ability, and labor market outcomes” by Anne Case and Christina Paxson

“The height premium in Indonesia” by Kitae Sohn

“Two by two, inch by inch: Height as an indicator of environmental conditions during childhood and its influence on earnings over the life cycle among twins” by Elisabeth Lång and Paul Nystedt

“Long-term changes of socioeconomic differences in height among young adult men in Southern Sweden, 1818-1968” by Stefan Öberg

“Big and tall: Does a height premium dwarf an obesity penalty in the labor market?” by Wang-Sheng Lee

Could it be that tall people live shorter lives? Take a look at these five articles and decide for yourself.

“I Wish I Was a Little Bit Shorter. The research is clear: Being tall is hazardous to your health” by Brian Palmer

“Impact of height and weight on life span” by T T Samaras and L H Storms (1992)

“Evidence That Short People Live Longer: What We Know” by Cory Whelan

“Is height related to longevity?” by Thomas T Samaras, Harold Elrick and Lowell H Storms (2003)

“Human growth, height, size: Reasons to be small” by Thomas Samaras

The Oprah Winfrey social experiment:

“The Daring Racism Experiment That People Still Talk About 20 Years Later” by Lisa Capretto

“Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” Anti-Racism Experiment”

“Why Oprah’s secret racism experiment is more relevant than ever” by Maddison Leach

For comparison, to show that views can change:

“Tattoos No Longer A Kiss Of Death In The Workplace” by Rachel Hennessey

“Remarks on human biological enhancement” by Henry T. Greely

“The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary” Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg, 2017

Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

Geert and Gert-Jan Hofstede’s website

Feel free to share your opinion below, please.

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