Dr Susham Gupta, a specialist registrar in adult and old age psychiatry, and Dr James Warner, a consultant in older adults\’ psychiatry, said the relative price of alcohol has halved in real terms since the 1960s.
Right…they\’re measuring this by the price relative to income. And as alcohol is a manufactured item, it\’s really not surprising that the price has fallen in relation to wages. That\’s pretty much the history of every manufactured item since we first, umm, started manufacturing.
It\’s also an interesting way of responding to those who say that real wages haven\’t risen over the decades. If for the same number of hours work you can buy twice as much stuff then real wages have most surely risen.
At the same time average annual consumption of alcohol per person has doubled from less than six litres to more than 11.5 litres in 2000.
Hmm. If alcohol consumption has doubled while prices have halved (relative to incomes) then that means that alcohol consumption is, well, I can never quite remember, inelastic or elastic? A 1% movement in price leads to a 1% movement in consumption is which? Elastic? Certainly it makes alcohol a normal good, not a luxury, sticky or inferior one.
Still, it shows that there\’s nothing very odd about alcohol from an economic point of view.
People are able to buy more alcohol so they do.
But apparently this is very bad as it makes old people demented if they have drunk during their lives. And thus we must tax it all a great deal more and reduce the amount people drink.
The link between alcohol consumption and dementia is being ignored and unless urgent action is taken today\’s binge drinkers will be tomorrow\’s dementia patients, psychiatrists said.
Public awareness campaigns and labels warning that dementia is linked to alcohol should be introduced, they said.
OK, fair enough, tell people this and then let them make their own decisions. You want to wait for the Alzheimer\’s to kick in or have a few pints along the way?
In the meantime raising the price and restricting sales was proven to be the most effective methods of reducing consumption of alcohol.
But that\’s not actually what we want to do, is it? We want people to have the maximum freedom to make informed choices….not to be coralled into making the choice you desire.