The eyes have it

Successive governments have all sought to tackle one issue that it seems is perpetually inherited from the previous government,

‘The alcohol problem’

The latest attempt to resolve the problem is to put the price up as statistics apparently suggest that it leads to a reduction in the undesirable effects of drinking alcohol on society and the economy.

Drinking alcohol will continue to damage the body of the drinker and produce hangovers no matter how little or much it costs so clearly pricing does nothing to change the nature of the product. The cynical amongst us will of course suspect that the manufactures may consider reducing the quality of the other ingredients in alcoholic drinks in an effort to maintain existing pricing levels.

But of course those promoting putting the price up will have thought of that, surely?

If alcohol is ‘the problem’ then the people seeking its effects will more or less drink anything that contains it that is available off the shelf in a retail shop. The fact that they will go for stronger drinks leads to the impression that those drinks are the problem. They are clearly not the problem; the behaviour leading to the purchase of alcohol is the problem.

But they would have thought of that one too, obviously?

Given that the alcohol, rather than the drink or brand is the target of the user, then it is probable that said user will seek out ways of getting the alcohol if barriers are put into place. If that barrier is price and the user is short of money, then they will look for cheaper alternatives or possibly turn to crime to fund the addiction.

But no doubt that has been carefully thought through, has is not?

Not forgetting that there is and has always been a source of low price alcohol available off the shelf and putting up the price of manufactured alcohol may see this turning it into a significant area of sales growth.

Home brew is and always was a relatively low cost option to produce alcohol. If prices of canned and bottled products increase then we may well see an increase in the sale of beer and wine kits. The quality of the product may vary, but they all produce the desired end result – alcohol.

The problem is that alcohol is, and always will be a very powerful psycho active drug and we kid ourselves that we can always control its impact on us. Statistics tell us that ‘responsible drinking ‘is the answer, driven by minimum pricing.

My own eyes tell me differently.

1 comment for “The eyes have it

  1. Peter
    20 June, 2012 at 10:57

    Hi Colin
    It would appear that policy makers have a strong psycho active mechanism at work in the, to keep wanting to do the same things [banning, price-upping] and expecting to get a different result on the economy and society. What do you imagine is making them do this in the absence of drugs and alcohol?

    Have they taught their brains to ignore what their eyes tell them? Is this happening without them being aware of it? How long has this been going on?

    Maybe if we got to the bottom of this the economy and society would be on a route to a happier place, and then alcohol would pale into insignificance as a problem!?

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