Should there be a minimum price for alcohol?
Supermarket chain Tesco says it wants to see curbs on the sale of cheap alcohol during this parliament. Do you agree?
Tesco has welcomed a promise by the coalition government to ban below-cost sales of alcohol in England and Wales. But the UK's biggest retailer has gone further, proposing the more radical step of introducing a minimum price.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Peter Fahy said there was a British culture of excessive drinking that was encouraged by low prices. He went on to say he was very pleased that the price of alcohol was being addressed because of the "huge impact" it has "on both the police service and the health service".
Should the government set the price for alcohol or should it be left to the retailers? Is excessive drinking a result of low prices? Will a minimum price make any different to the drinking culture?
[the following comment was placed in the comments section in BBC's: Should there be a minimum price for alcohol?]
Well, is this another case of exploiting misery or weaknesses for the sake of profit? Perhaps all profits or sums accrued from price adjustments arising out of the minimum price ought to be channelled into charities.
But i have to agree with some of the commentators that this has to be complemented with education and doing something about those factors in society that might contribute to excessive drinking. However, if we rely on education alone, that can be tantamount to suppressing those positive aspects of our persona that is taking solace in alcohol for want of more positive avenues in society where it can articulate itself.
When we compensate for being deprived through less than laudable pastimes, the greater evil is not these pastimes, but not being able to access those avenues or opportunities where we can realise ourselves to the fullest. If this is not addressed for some time, than these compensatory pastimes become 'culture', and hence, more resilient to change. And that is when we move on to blaming the victim and talk about 'education'.
When we talk about 'minimum price' in this type of situation, we ought to complement it with doing the 'maximum' in addressing the social conditions that give rise to it - lest we be complicit in the production of, and profitting from, the consequences of the overarching conditions that we take to be 'natural'.