Friday, 7 August 2015

Words may be required

Subsequent to my last post depicting pints of beer for €1 (around $1.40 I believe, thanks UTT), I found an establishment offering said pint for only 70 cents!

I can't help but wonder if the price of alcohol really makes a difference to whether you drink it and how much of it you drink, or if it merely makes you choose to drink in one venue over another?

The stakes are somewhat magnified with this strategy in the UK where the majority of the cost is the tax applied to alcohol and debate continues about minimum pricing for alcohol (currently rejected).

With any addiction, increasing the price alone will not deter problematic drinkers. Those who do not have a problem will cut back if they cannot afford it without any qualms. Those who cannot do this must find the extra cash required to maintain their addiction. At one extreme this may involve burglary and theft as is seen with opioid addiction. Long before that though, choices have to be made to prioritise aohol expenditure on alcohol and these induce an opportunity cost: that which you do not buy because you spent the money on something else instead. This may be food or luxuries such as holidays or clothes, or shoes for our children. These are potential sources of harm; malnutrition and neglect.

Although I was shocked at the low price of beer, enticing people to drink more and making it easy for them to do so, perhaps it is the correct thing to do? Make it easier for people to get the vice they need and minimise the collateral damage?
Or would this speed up dependency and bring these habits to breaking point sooner? Would this be a good thing or a bad thing?

As ever it seems there are more questions than answers and it can easily feel as if going round in circles.
The best solution, as ever, is to leave it alone, and refuse to give it brain space. IMO.


  1. Sometimes I drank the cheap happy hour wine, but other times I'd buy the expensive stuff.
    Either way, I drank too much!
    You are right..too much brain space!

  2. I think people will drink no matter how much it costs. It's like putting those horrible photos on cigarette packets and putting the price up, it never stops anyone. I don't think there is a solution, unfortunately. A x

  3. There's a definite correlation between low prices and increased consumption. Here in Australia we've just hit around $28 for packet of 25 cigarettes - and it is working in lowering new smoking rates.
    Thanks Bren

  4. Difficult one. As you'll know, the Scottish Govt are committed to introducing MUP on alcohol but the draft legislation is mired in the European courts following challenges from the very powerful whisky industry, amongst other EU drinks producers. But it seems like a welcome measure that will reduce consumption. However, my unease about the plans was less about the interfering-nanny-state side of the argument (which I feel in some measure) but more what you have articulated about those who have a deep problem and do not have the money doing without essentials to afford alcohol. It's a dilemma.


Go on, spill.

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