Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The tiger is about to touch your pint

It seems that the Irish government is planning to set a minimum price for alcohol reports the Irish Independent. Paper usually uses a lot of pages to slur Sinn Féin, but this time they left out the part that the party was opposing the governments plan, not because of raising alcohol prizes, but that they are not promoting a bill to ban alcohol commercials.

My favorite country for comparing Ireland is Finland, and they officially have both of these bills in affect. High taxation on alcohol, and starting from this year, they have also banned alcohol commercials in spite that there is no evidence that alcohol commercials would affect drinking habits. Though there are some credible sources (citation needed) claiming that the commercials have an affect on which brands people pick up as their drug of the evening. So far the price changes in Finland hasn't affected so much in the usage, as it has more affected on the types of alcohol sold (beer, wine, vodka).

Leo Varadkar seems to believe that higher alcohol prizes will put a hold on domestic violence, sexual violence, and all kinds of other violence. At least if we are interpreting his Independent quote correctly when he stated that "[alcohol is] associated with many suicides and instances of sexual violence, domestic violence and child harm. The time for debate is over, we have had four years of it now. It is over and we need to put those measures into place."

I could make a working theory if I would assume that Varadkar's view of correct social policy by stating that it could be measured. In the future, only the people, who can afford drinking, would be the number one suspects when it comes to domestic violence.

Alcohol prizes might go up to somewhere between 1.70 and 2.20 per beer can. It is not a horrible prize, but it is definitely something to be concerned about. With wines the price range seems to be in par with mine. The minimum prize of wine might go somewhere between 7.20 and 8.80.

On the other hand I would suspect that people might still be drinking, and those who already use all their money to alcohol products will be the ones who will only get poorer at much faster rate.

What I truly believe is that alcohol consumption has many effects on society. Alcohol might break families, but it also creates new ones. Alcohol might be the cause of problematic gambling, but some winnings might only be due to the correct amount of alcohol usage. Anyways, this political process is definitely something to follow up on. It might also give a very good insight on how the mainstream politicians truly feel about alcohol.

Finland's neighbor, Sweden, has their own interpretation of Finnish alcohol politics. Robert Gustafsson shows the five stages of Finnish drinking (in Swedish):