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Prohibition Didn't Work in the USA and Won't Work in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing this ongoing alcohol ban and for those who are unaware, I am not a big fan of it. People have actually asked me, they have said, "Do you really miss your beer that much?" And quite frankly, no, I have the same amount of beer as I have always had. I am probably having it more at home but that is not really the issue. It is not my personal issue with respect to having a beer. It is more I have just frankly watched the utter economic for lack of a better term, devastation that this overall policy has caused. I don't think policy makers really take into account just how much alcohol sales benefits the bottom line of for example a restaurant to the point that running a restaurant without the ability to make that margin off that product, namely alcohol, it almost makes running a restaurant in certain circumstances almost a futile enterprise because they just almost can't make ends meet and in some cases they simply can't make ends meet without being able to serve alcohol. I get it, everybody wants to live in a perfect world where maybe people don't want to drink alcohol or not as often as other people would like but we don't live in that perfect world. People like that product and they want to have a drink; they want to have a beer with their cheeseburger or wine with their steak or whatever, and it just is what it is. 

The reason for the video is we have actually got pretty good evidence of what happens when you try to ban alcohol especially when it has been legal and that is the American experience with prohibition. Before we get into that I wanted to go ahead and quote this article. This is from ASEAN NOW, I urge folks who are watching this to go and read that article, there is more in there than what I am going to be quoting, but quoting directly: Five senior police repositioned after raids find venues selling alcohol breaking COVID-19 rules and operating illegally in Bangkok. Thai Police vow further nightlife crackdowns. Quoting directly: "Five senior police officials from the Lumpini Police Station what all did repositioned by the Royal Thai Police on Sunday, October 17th, after allegedly neglecting the illegal sales of alcoholic beverages at a restaurant in downtown Bangkok that was raided on Sunday." Quoting further: "This follows nearly daily raids across the country, especially in Bangkok and Pattaya, targeting venues selling alcohol illegally, which remains against COVID-19 rules, (and this is key) COVID -19 rules set by the Centre for COVID -19 Situation Administration, or CCSA." I will get back to that in a minute. "Bars and entertainment venues have been shuttered countrywide, nationwide legally since April of this year and restaurants are banned from selling alcohol with the exception of Phuket, Samui and Khao Lak which have been given "tourism exemptions" for only restaurants." 

I just can't state this enough. I mean why does CCSA even have this power? I would also love to know the data and the rationale behind this. No one has ever been able to explain to me, especially in the restaurant context. I can kind of understand the argument maybe in other contexts but with respect to restaurants, I mean they are already open. People are already gathered the way they are going to eat. I don't really see how adding a beer on someone's table or a glass of wine, fundamentally changes the interactive experience of going to a steakhouse or a restaurant for example. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Moreover, as I have discussed in other videos, why is the CCSA setting these policies? Who are these people? It is not the Government in the same form that we are used to dealing with them. It is just these people that have just are setting these policies. It seems off.

Leaving that aside, I also thought and folks might think that this is odd but "repositioning five senior Police Officials after allegedly neglecting the illegal sales of alcoholic beverages at a restaurant in downtown Bangkok". I mean are they supposed to be omnipresent? I mean yeah this is going to happen. Again we have seen this historically especially when you try to illegalize something that has always been legal and something as readily available as alcohol. The point I am trying to make is it is not so much the alcohol, it is just to me, it seems like bad policy. We are repositioning probably five otherwise pretty good cops I suspect over one restaurant that was selling alcohol. Is that the best use of resources? On top of this, I mean we really need to be rethinking or thinking about the tourism sector that is set to come online in November. Yeah okay there are going to be a lot of people probably re-entering, a lot of them probably expats or prospective expats who just want to enjoy the lack of quarantine. But on top of that, if we are really going to hope to get any tourists back I just don't see a lot of tourists wanting to come to Thailand without the ability to have a beer on the beach for example while they eat their club sandwich. 

So long story short, we have seen the historical ramifications of prohibition and maybe it is time to start seriously rethinking these policies here in Thailand.