Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hysterical Over-reaction Of The Week

From The Metro:

Ecuador has temporarily banned alcohol as an emergency measure after 12 people died drinking contaminated bootleg liquor. (1)

Initially the ban was restricted to the coastal municipality of Urdaneta in Los Rios province, where over 100 people have been treated for intoxication (2) from drinking adulterated alcohol.

A 72-hour nationwide dry law prohibiting the sale or consumption (3) of alcohol was subsequently introduced yesterday, after alcohol poisoning cases were detected in at least four other areas across the country. (4)

1) High duties on spirits -> bootlegging, see Pub Curmudgeon for a lengthier exposé. As VFTS points out in the comments, ban on sale of alcohol -> increase in sale of bootleg alcohol.

2) Isn't that the whole point? To get intoxicated?

3) There's nothing to suggest that beer or wine is similarly contaminated, but they've banned the 'consumption' of all alcohol in people's houses? So I can't finish off the last few cans from a multi-pack or a bottle of wine which so far hasn't killed me? How are they going to enforce that, then?

4) Could they not just publish the brand names used by the bootleggers and leave it to people to decide for themselves?


View from the Solent said...

Ban consumption? hahahahahaha

Let's see. Ban the sale of legal alcohol. So more people buy bootleg. And more people get poisoned.

I must have made an error somewhere, I'm sure that the Ecuadoran authorities have got it right.

Curmudgeon said...

Ah yes, there are problems with illegal alcohol, so you ban the consumption of legal alcohol. Any idea what tha's going to encourage?

Ross said...

The alcohol's probably safer than the water over there.

Bayard said...

VTFS, don't laugh, it could happen here. Our authorities are not much less in thrall to the neo-puritans.

Dick Puddlecote said...

I tweeted this yesterday as it is a perfect example of the state creating a problem before solving it badly.

Tax a product which makes it profitable for illegal production, poor quality ensues, government reacts by banning the product which is safe.

To a greater or lesser extent, this will always happen with sumptuary taxes.

Mark Wadsworth said...

VFTS, good point, I've added it to the list.

C, yup. Smokers throng doorways as a result of smoking ban? Not a problem - just ban smoking in the street, etc.

R, I dunno, is it?

B, it WILL happen here. Minimum pricing is but a small tentative step.

DP: "a perfect example of the state creating a problem before solving it badly"?

Don't you mean "a perfect example of the state creating a problem before creating an even bigger problem"?

Curmudgeon said...

Another example is if the government were to decide to ban the use of handsfree mobile phones in cars. Lots of people woulds simply switch to using handhelds, which are already illegal (and one assumes more dangerous) but nevertheless still very widely used.

James Higham said...

Could they not just publish the brand names

That's common sense and they are the government.