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Minimum Alcohol Pricing - Is it Ethical? Watch

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    (Original post by Hopple)
    The aim of this policy is to reduce crime/protect the general public, with some consideration given to public health. Do you dispute that those objectives would be achieved?
    "Research from both sides of the border has cast doubt on plans by the Westminster and Edinburgh governments to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.


    A new study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has claimed that an increase in the price of alcohol would not cut binge drinking, health problems and crime."

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/n...-drinkers.html
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    For stuff that costs money, of course the poor can't do what the rich can You might as well complain about VAT, or even income tax.

    The aim of this policy is to reduce crime/protect the general public, with some consideration given to public health. Do you dispute that those objectives would be achieved?
    Absolutely!
    The public's health is up to the public, to tell people they can't smoke or drink is wrong. They are autonomous beings who can make their own decisions. Now obviously some people become addicted, and they can't simply make their own decision, but that is not the vast proportion of the population.

    VAT is there because the state needs money. This would be telling supermarkets what they can and can't use as loss leaders.

    This would be arbitrarily telling those who can't afford as much that they're not allowed to drink, not because of taxes, not because supermarkets want to charge at that price, but because the price is arbitrarily higher than the sellers and buyers would like.

    As for crime, it could simply push people to the black market, which would inevitably increase crime instead!
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Absolutely!
    The public's health is up to the public, to tell people they can't smoke or drink is wrong. They are autonomous beings who can make their own decisions. Now obviously some people become addicted, and they can't simply make their own decision, but that is not the vast proportion of the population.

    VAT is there because the state needs money. This would be telling supermarkets what they can and can't use as loss leaders.

    This would be arbitrarily telling those who can't afford as much that they're not allowed to drink, not because of taxes, not because supermarkets want to charge at that price, but because the price is arbitrarily higher than the sellers and buyers would like.

    As for crime, it could simply push people to the black market, which would inevitably increase crime instead!
    Given that we have the NHS, and people overwhelmingly want it kept nationalised, it's absolutely in the government's remit to lower costs.

    Crime is the main driver though, and whilst you may be right that black market crime would increase, the important crimes of people being beat up or killed in the streets by a drunk or because they were drunk would decrease because people would buy less alcohol. True, they might drink more at home off the black market or homebrewed stuff, but there at least there they aren't in a mob with other mobs around them.
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    Not sure it can be considered 'ethically wrong' but it is wrong. It'll just force poor people to spend more money on alcohol than they do now, which in turn will allow them to spend less on food and such.
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    (Original post by Ishkabibble)
    Actually in Sweden the government has the monopoly on alcohol, and it works out great they still have crap tones of pubs its just that they don't sell alcohol in stores except for the government run systembolaget. The purpose of the systembolaget is: To minimize alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive and it has been that way since 1955. So aslong as pubs get it tax free, I do not have a problem with them taxing alcohol sold in stores here because there has to be a way to try and make money back from all the damage done by drunken people to themselves, and to public property. However, I think going for a swedish style system would be the best thing for everyone.
    Im sure it'd be great for the companies selling the alcohol and their employees? May i also add that systembolaget is a corrupt bureaucratic nightmare, no thanks I'd rather I didn't have the goverment in complete controll of alcoholic beverages over 3.5%, no respect for the view points of the consumer
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    It's not ethically wrong but I don't really think it will stop problem drinking. People who are alcoholics will do anything to get alcohol because it is the only thing that matters to them. The only people who will be put off are occasional social drinkers.
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    If anything it's wrong not to introduce it. Not so long ago the UK had one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita among developed nations and it now sits comfortably within the top 10.

    Will it have a significant effect? Probably. Evidence from similar nations that have implemented a similar system support the theory. Is it the single solution? No, of course not. The whole culture of drinking in the country needs to change to really maximise the benefits and that requires a lot more work and effort than simply changing legislation. Minimum pricing could be the first big step towards that and the obvious benefits that will bring however.
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    Of course is it ethically wrong. It affects only those with the lowest incomes and leaves everybody else to drink as much as they like.

    The goal of government legislation is surely to reduce the consumption/harm of alcohol across the population.

    This minimum pricing farce doesn't do that, as long as you have enough money you can cause as much damage to yourself with alcohol as you please.

    I don't buy any alcohol at a lower price than 45p a unit and I'm not exactly swimming in a pool of £50 notes.
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    (Original post by russellsteapot)
    When I lived in Sweden, I found the whole system to be incredibly patronising, restrictive and honestly quite absurd. Everyone who lived close enough got their alcohol from Denmark anyway, there didn't seem to be any problem with that (indeed, on my trips to Denmark, every other person seemed to be Swedish).

    I don't think it is the government's place to impose that sort of control. Problem drinkers are still problem drinkers, irrespective of where they get it from, and it just makes things far more awkward and expensive for the majority of people who don't have a drinking problem.
    I do think it is the governments place to impose that sort of control, it is their responsibilty to take care of the people and if the people are irresponsible when it comes to drinking they are the ones that have to implement some kind of system. Drinking is a huge problem in the UK, according to the alcohol education trust "Alcohol is a factor in 20 - 30% of all accidents, 22% of Accident and Emergency admissions in England were alcohol related in 2009", that is a lot of people getting hurt from over drinking. So yes we do need a better system, we need to as stupid as this sounds protect people from themselves. Even if the systembolaget is corrupt its better than what we have already.
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    (Original post by Ishkabibble)
    I do think it is the governments place to impose that sort of control, it is their responsibilty to take care of the people and if the people are irresponsible when it comes to drinking they are the ones that have to implement some kind of system. Drinking is a huge problem in the UK, according to the alcohol education trust "Alcohol is a factor in 20 - 30% of all accidents, 22% of Accident and Emergency admissions in England were alcohol related in 2009", that is a lot of people getting hurt from over drinking. So yes we do need a better system, we need to as stupid as this sounds protect people from themselves. Even if the systembolaget is corrupt its better than what we have already.
    We make so much off tax from alcohol we can cover the social costs of people drinking whilst maintain people's personal freedom's. For goods with negative externailities such as alcohol I believe some government intervention is warranted e.g a tax or min pricing. However authoritarian policies like establishing a government monopoly and taking out consumer choice just leads to people avoiding such measures, Scandinavia has a moonshine problem in rural areas which is far worse than normal alcoholic beverages sold on the UK market.
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    (Original post by Scumbaggio)
    I don't buy any alcohol at a lower price than 45p a unit and I'm not exactly swimming in a pool of £50 notes.
    That is precisely the point. The majority of moderate drinkers will pay more than 45p a unit anyway whatever their income, presumably as they actually want to enjoy what they're drinking. The low income discrimination is a stick the industry like to use - of course they don't want to stop selling the cheap booze because who are the primary consumers? Their most regular customers.

    Granted there will be a few who perhaps can't drink as often as maybe they once would, but switching from moderate to low consumption is hardly a blow to your life satisfaction. You would still be able to buy wine at around £5 a bottle and a can of lager at around 80p - hardly out of the reach of the common man. Perhaps the savings in the NHS and reduction of crime and clean up will leave more in the public coffers to pay for things that will really boost the way of life for everyone.
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    Given that we have the NHS, and people overwhelmingly want it kept nationalised, it's absolutely in the government's remit to lower costs.

    Crime is the main driver though, and whilst you may be right that black market crime would increase, the important crimes of people being beat up or killed in the streets by a drunk or because they were drunk would decrease because people would buy less alcohol. True, they might drink more at home off the black market or homebrewed stuff, but there at least there they aren't in a mob with other mobs around them.
    Oh okay.
    So instead of say, increasing the tax on alcohol to cover the NHS costs, and let people make an informed decision. We should simply make the price go up and not let supermarkets decide how much they want to make on the product?
    Wait, what???

    And If it goes to the black market...
    ...well let me put it another way. Weed is not a gateway drug. But if you're going to a guy for weed and he's got other things, he'll always push you to do the other things so he can make more money from you. The indirect effects of things matter as much as the direct consequences.

    Finally, I'm about to have lots of lovely jam doughnuts. They were nice and cheap. And I know they're high quality.
    I think it's time I hate 5 packets a day, and that can be my whole diet.
    Or are you going to tell me I can't because it's bad for me?
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Oh okay.
    So instead of say, increasing the tax on alcohol to cover the NHS costs, and let people make an informed decision. We should simply make the price go up and not let supermarkets decide how much they want to make on the product?
    Wait, what???

    And If it goes to the black market...
    ...well let me put it another way. Weed is not a gateway drug. But if you're going to a guy for weed and he's got other things, he'll always push you to do the other things so he can make more money from you. The indirect effects of things matter as much as the direct consequences.

    Finally, I'm about to have lots of lovely jam doughnuts. They were nice and cheap. And I know they're high quality.
    I think it's time I hate 5 packets a day, and that can be my whole diet.
    Or are you going to tell me I can't because it's bad for me?
    You keep focusing on the health bit despite me saying it's the secondary concern. It's a secondary concern because the argument isn't as one-sided - there are the 'freedom of choice' and 'cheap stuff is good' arguments. If there wasn't any crime I'd agree not to place restrictions on alcohol, but if we are going to restrict it we might as well throw in all the positives too. On the other hand, drunks fighting each other and innocent passers by is a very big concern, whilst you on your doughnut diet are going to actually end up less dangerous. I don't see how anyone can oppose lowering violent crime - have you not seen how aggressive people get when drunk? It won't eradicate the violence, of course, but it'll decrease the amount of alcohol people can consume (even if they drink the same amount as they would previously, that means they can't go out on another night).

    Bear in mind too that alcohol's not being banned, it's being financially discouraged.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Oh okay.
    So instead of say, increasing the tax on alcohol to cover the NHS costs, and let people make an informed decision. We should simply make the price go up and not let supermarkets decide how much they want to make on the product?
    Wait, what???
    Alcohol in the UK is already among the most highly taxed commodities and it goes up every year. A tax hike affects everyone and particularly squeezes the pub industry that's already being pushed to breaking point. The minimum unit price will not raise the price of the vast majority of products sold. People can still make an informed decision, the decision will simply be swayed by eliminating the cheap route.

    (Original post by there's too much love)
    And If it goes to the black market...
    ...well let me put it another way. Weed is not a gateway drug. But if you're going to a guy for weed and he's got other things, he'll always push you to do the other things so he can make more money from you. The indirect effects of things matter as much as the direct consequences.
    The majority of people are not going to be doing deals down back alleys on homebrew alcohol. It's not being made unavailable there's simply a minimum cost to buy it - around 80p a can of lager. People may find they need to cut back, but to be honest they'll probably enjoy it more anyway.

    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Finally, I'm about to have lots of lovely jam doughnuts. They were nice and cheap. And I know they're high quality.
    I think it's time I hate 5 packets a day, and that can be my whole diet.
    Or are you going to tell me I can't because it's bad for me?
    Your pack of doughnuts probably cost about the same as a can of lager under minimum pricing. Unhealthy foods are not VAT exempt unlike foods deemed "essentials" like milk and such. And yes doctors will advise you not to because it's bad for you, in the same way they advise you not to drink more than a certain number of units of alcohol a day.
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    You keep focusing on the health bit despite me saying it's the secondary concern. It's a secondary concern because the argument isn't as one-sided - there are the 'freedom of choice' and 'cheap stuff is good' arguments. If there wasn't any crime I'd agree not to place restrictions on alcohol, but if we are going to restrict it we might as well throw in all the positives too. On the other hand, drunks fighting each other and innocent passers by is a very big concern, whilst you on your doughnut diet are going to actually end up less dangerous. I don't see how anyone can oppose lowering violent crime - have you not seen how aggressive people get when drunk? It won't eradicate the violence, of course, but it'll decrease the amount of alcohol people can consume (even if they drink the same amount as they would previously, that means they can't go out on another night).

    Bear in mind too that alcohol's not being banned, it's being financially discouraged.
    We're talking about a very small minority of people. I get drunk and I don't get violent. You're basing an entire piece of policy affecting lots of people on an extreme minority.


    (Original post by Matt85259)
    Alcohol in the UK is already among the most highly taxed commodities and it goes up every year. A tax hike affects everyone and particularly squeezes the pub industry that's already being pushed to breaking point. The minimum unit price will not raise the price of the vast majority of products sold. People can still make an informed decision, the decision will simply be swayed by eliminating the cheap route.
    The minimum pricing is arbitrary and discriminates against poor people for the sake of it.

    The majority of people are not going to be doing deals down back alleys on homebrew alcohol. It's not being made unavailable there's simply a minimum cost to buy it - around 80p a can of lager. People may find they need to cut back, but to be honest they'll probably enjoy it more anyway.
    So you're presuming if they'll enjoy it or not.
    And you're right, they're not. But it's being made less available.

    Your pack of doughnuts probably cost about the same as a can of lager under minimum pricing. Unhealthy foods are not VAT exempt unlike foods deemed "essentials" like milk and such. And yes doctors will advise you not to because it's bad for you, in the same way they advise you not to drink more than a certain number of units of alcohol a day.
    This isn't advice, this is making it harder for poor people to consume the amount of alcohol that they want to, whilst letting those better of consume how ever much they please.

    Doctors will advise you, they won't force you.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    We're talking about a very small minority of people. I get drunk and I don't get violent. You're basing an entire piece of policy affecting lots of people on an extreme minority.
    We're also not allowed to carry guns or knives around because of an extreme minority, what's your point?

    It's all very well to say "Oh, it's my body, my choice, it's nobody else's business", but the fact is, it is other people's business - people stay away from places they'd otherwise like to go because of the drunks, and if they do dare venture there they face a significantly greater risk of being attacked.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    We're talking about a very small minority of people. I get drunk and I don't get violent. You're basing an entire piece of policy affecting lots of people on an extreme minority.
    It's not simply the violence aspect. Go out to any town centre on a friday night and you have people falling over before they've left the taxi, who has to get them home or someplace safe for the night? The emergency services. Go to A&E on a friday night and you'll be waiting for hours due to the amount of injuries resulting from over-indulgence in alcohol. Reduce those levels and you're already easing a huge burden on the already stretched public services.

    (Original post by there's too much love)
    The minimum pricing is arbitrary and discriminates against poor people for the sake of it.
    No, it's not arbitrary. The suggested price (actually less than what was recommended) has been based on research carried out by Sheffield University which is founded on conservative estimates of observational study data from countries such as the U.S. and Canada. It's not at all discriminating against poor people it's a set minimum price for everyone and it doesn't take it out of the affordability zone of most people. Regardless, alcohol is a luxury, not a necessity. It's a simple fact that rich people can afford more luxuries than poor people. People are quick to call discrimination or offence today as the trump card to defeat any reasonable argument. There will not be a drastic change in the majority of people's lives with this in place and for those whom are affected, it could prove to be a lifesaver.


    (Original post by there's too much love)
    So you're presuming if they'll enjoy it or not.
    Fair point, perhaps they enjoy it more - to each their own. If they do they'll keep buying it when the cost goes up - it won't be taken off the shelves.

    (Original post by there's too much love)
    And you're right, they're not. But it's being made less available.

    This isn't advice, this is making it harder for poor people to consume the amount of alcohol that they want to, whilst letting those better of consume how ever much they please.

    Doctors will advise you, they won't force you.
    That is the point of it. By reducing the ability of people to be under-the-table drunk for less than a fiver, the hope is that people will be put off. The aim is to get everyone to consume less alcohol as that's the problem that they're trying to solve. You'll tend to find typically anyway the the alcohol abusers rapidly run short of funds, however much they earn (e.g. Gazza) and rich or poor this point comes quicker with a minimum cost per unit.
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    We're also not allowed to carry guns or knives around because of an extreme minority, what's your point?

    It's all very well to say "Oh, it's my body, my choice, it's nobody else's business", but the fact is, it is other people's business - people stay away from places they'd otherwise like to go because of the drunks, and if they do dare venture there they face a significantly greater risk of being attacked.
    do you ever even go out at night?
    im guessing you stay safely in your house, peeping out from behind the curtains, scared the angry drunks will get you lol.

    ive been going out loads for years, ive seen a handful of fights, not serious. ive never been attacked and neither has anyone i know. your more likely to get attacked if your an angry drunk yourself and causing trouble.

    not everyone who drinks attacks people, the majority of people who go out and get drunk, have fun.

    i dont want them to change the pricing, cheap ALDI malibu, vodka and ameretto, etc are great for student parties.

    if people want to drink, thats their choice. its just discriminating against the poor. people wont be deterred by this.
    people who have real drinking problems will just have to spend more of their children's food money in order to buy alcohol- is that the solution?
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    I haven't actually read up much on this, does it apply to ordering online? E.g. Amazon UK.
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    (Original post by Cattty)
    do you ever even go out at night?
    im guessing you stay safely in your house, peeping out from behind the curtains, scared the angry drunks will get you lol.
    While clearly an irrelevant comment, I'm guessing you've had the pleasure of living in nice areas the most of your life. This is indeed how a number of people, particularly elderly and other vulnerable people feel in certain areas. While alcohol is not the only cause, it certainly has an attributable affect.

    (Original post by Cattty)
    ive been going out loads for years, ive seen a handful of fights, not serious. ive never been attacked and neither has anyone i know. your more likely to get attacked if your an angry drunk yourself and causing trouble.

    not everyone who drinks attacks people, the majority of people who go out and get drunk, have fun.
    I've never witnessed a mugging and I've walked the streets for years - they still happen. Regardless, it's not even simply fights, but trips and falls; drink driving related collisions; alcohol poisoning and many other incidents that create a drain on the NHS and other services.

    (Original post by Cattty)
    i dont want them to change the pricing, cheap ALDI malibu, vodka and ameretto, etc are great for student parties.
    Virtually an advert for the efficacy of a minimum price scheme. You don't want it increased because it means it'd be expensive for students to get drunk beyond sense and reason and hence they simply wouldn't do it. Mission accomplished.

    (Original post by Cattty)
    if people want to drink, thats their choice. its just discriminating against the poor. people wont be deterred by this.
    people who have real drinking problems will just have to spend more of their children's food money in order to buy alcohol- is that the solution?
    Yes, it is their choice and still will be - it's minimum pricing not prohibition. As for the last bit, I've addressed previously why the bleating of discrimination is a nonsense. People who have real drink problems are more likely to take steps to save themselves when faced up with a harsh reality of their problems. Cheap alcohol just acts a pacifier and lets them avoid their problems much longer.
 
 
 
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