A new study from the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development shows that people who have higher socioeconomic status and higher education are drinking more than other groups. The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development is an international organization that looks at trends that occur on a global level. The study also found that both poor men and rich women engage in “risky drinking” behaviors.
The report laid out the various negative effects of drinking heavily, such as the impact it has on production and workers. There are also medical expenses and crime that occurs as a result of excessive drinking, which impacts a country by about 1 percent of economic growth. For instance, America’s economy grew by $650 billion in 2014, but the negative effects of alcohol could have cost the economy $6.5 billion based on the findings of the organization behind the study. In terms of financial impact, that number is bigger than all of the sales on Netflix for the entire year of 2014, and this could devastate economies on a global scale. Previous studies that the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development used for the report have indicated it could be 3.3 percent of economic growth, which would actually put the number to about $21 billion in the United States alone.
In terms of the alcohol of choice for Americans, beer is still the most popular, but France, Italy and Portugal seem to like wine the most. In Russia, spirits are still the number one alcohol consumed. The study also found that younger people are actually drinking more, especially young people under the age of 15. Girls under the age of 15 that have been drunk went from 26 percent up to 41 percent just between 2001 and 2010. Boys under the age of 15 who have been drunk went from 30 percent to 43 percent. High school students have also been consuming a lot of alcohol, with more than one-fifth of them reporting that they have binge drank at least once.
The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development proposed that taxes and prices related to alcohol should be increased in the United States, because they say it would help curb the amount of alcohol consumed. The report said that a 10 percent increase would be ideal, with the report stating how the United States has lower alcohol taxes than other similar industrialized nations. The report claimed that increases the taxes or prices on the booze would lead to workers being more productive and healthier overall, since it would hinder excessive drinking somewhat. Alcohol industry advocates however opposed this suggestion, claiming that increased prices won’t stop an alcoholic from buying alcohol. Even the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showed studies that supported the theory raising prices would do nothing to curb drinking, because alcoholism is a medical condition that cannot be deterred by simply raising costs of the beverage.
In short, this report delves into just how devastating alcohol consumption can be to an economy, in terms of liability both in the workplace and in society. The best way to combat the negative financial impacts detailed in the report is to help people get treatment who need it, which is easier said than done. Considering that the richer you are the more likely you are to become an excessive drinker, it is hard to get people with status to commit to sobriety until something devastating happens in their life to make them realize the impact alcohol really has.