Monday, September 2, 2013

Privatization works.

Twenty years ago today Alberta Canada started the process to privatize the government run liquor stores much like Washington did last year and like Washington they did it fast and full bore. So what did they get for their efforts?

Increased selection. True in both places. Washington has over 30 superstores now (with more being built) where it had none before and Alberta went from 2,000 items available to tens of thousands.

Increased convenience. Washington went from 329 state stores to 1500 private stores.  Alberta went from 200 stores to 2,000 stores

Decreased Impaired death rate. Washington DUI and DUI crashes are both down over 9% since privatization. Alberta's DUI death rate at 1.1 per 100,000 it is lower than any state and half of what it was, 

Increased employment.  Washington had 931 state store workers. 3 warehousing firms alone hired 1,100 workers. Each of the over 30 superstores needed 25-40 workers and the 1,100 new stores needed some workers. While I was unable to find Alberta's liquor store employment from 20 years ago it is safe to say that going from 200 stores to 2,000 stores and the associated warehousing and transportation certainly resulted in more jobs.

Alberta is still working on wine in grocery stores 20 years later, much like we are still working on the same thing 80 years later. However, the system has been a boon to consumers and created a new entrepreneurial class in Alberta, both through retailers and licensed liquor agents.

As the linked article above points out "It seems ridiculous grown adults in this country should have to buy a legitimate consumer product directly from a government depot. While alcohol abuse is associated with social ills in some cases, that some people don’t mix well with booze is no reason for a government monopoly."

Privatization IS Modernization. Accept nothing less.


Anonymous said...

Alcohol made this country great. More alchohol will make it better!

Albert Brooks said...

George Washington gave his troops rye whiskey made right here in Pennsylvania so alcohol certainly had a part in making this country great.

sam k said...

Nice work, Mr. Brooks. looking forward to a new perspective here, building on Lew's valiant efforts of the past few years.

And to quote Stanton Peele in the Huffington Post...

"How do we know the founding fathers as a group drank a lot? Well, for one thing, we have records of their imbibing. In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.

That's more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a few shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. Clearly, that's humanly impossible. Except, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk - but not losing control - was simply socially accepted."

We are mere pikers compared to them, in many more ways than one!