Thursday, 1 September 2011

Whine monopoly

Yes, it is breathalysing her. Welcome to Oceania.
How Socialism works:  Pennsylvania has a state monopoly on booze and manages to lose money.

Talk about not being able to organise a piss up in a brewery.


Ironmistress said...

Perhaps we should send consults there.

Alko - the Finnish state alcohol monopoly - was for a long time the most profitable corporation in the whole Scandinavia before the EU directives forced the State of Finland to deconsolidate it.

Even today, Altia Group is a very profitable enterprise, and it is effectively a monopsony - it can manipulate the in-purchase prices of beverages so low that Alko stores may keep a broad selection of various ales, wines and rare liquors instead of just Eurobud, Plonk White, Plonk Red and Super Ethyl.

It is all how it is managed. If the Pennsylvanians are inept, that is their problem. Not that of a state monopoly. (Or private.)

eon said...

Ohio used to have a similar system, which consistently lost money, as well. It was privatized about a decade ago, at the behest of (I kid you not) MADD, who thought the state shouldn't be "encouraging" alcohol consumption.

Today, Ohio grocery stores sell liquor, under State regulations, and actually make money, which of course they pay taxes to the State upon. As for alcoholism, it's no better or worse than it was statewide under the "old" system, so in terms of social impact, it's a wash.

(PS- I don't drink. No big moral issue, I've just never liked the taste of the stuff, not even beer. Give me a Diet Dew any day.)



Ironmistress said...

The more I read of the American public sector failures, the more I am likely to believe that the US Army is nothing but a paper tiger which could not fight itself off a wet paper bag.

Seriously, those examples really tell more of the American ability and capability of organizing things than of any Capitalism, Socialism or other ideology.

If my country is able to arrange one of the best public schooling systems in the world, a non-fee public health care system, a public welfare safety net [which is not a hammock] and one of the most credible defence forces in the Western world - without going bankrupt -, there must be something wrong with the Americans themselves.

It all boils down on the ability of organizing things. Not ideology.

Timelord said...

As a Citizen of Pennsylvania and a State Employee, I can say without fear of contradiction that the problem is gross incompetence on the part of the State Government. Only a State enterprise would buy Kiosks that don't work half the time and then pretend to be suprised that the whole thing loses money and that no one wants to keep them around.

Sergej said...

Ironmistress: I've actually had a chance to discuss this with a coworker who's worked in Finland, without actually being Finnish. Our theory was that the Finns are more justified in trusting their government, because it consists of other Finns, much like themselves. We thought that Finland and Japan have more in common than the way the language works. Americans seem to have less in common with each other, and so, more of an individualistic streak. Or maybe it's that the American colonists started out as a bunch of oddballs and religious fanatics, with strong centrifugal tendencies, and subsequent immigrants haven't changed this very much.

I wouldn't say that any of this makes the American military ineffective, just different. From the Finnish military, and from that of the former Soviet Union. Which is, admit it, what you were thinking about.

Brandon said...

Things tend to not organize well in America because there is very little interest in working for the state (just not really part of the old "American Dream") which tends (not always) to attract substandard employees that can never really get themselves fired. Couple that with the fact that it is nearly impossible to fire a government worker and you get the kind of problems we see.

It also doesn't help that we have over 300 million citizens so programs that work well in smaller countries don't always scale well and are more likely to be inefficient and prone to fraud.

The idea about all us colonists being a bunch of weirdos probably isn't too far off the mark either.

The military on the other hand works in spite of government tampering. Luckily, our military has its own culture and values that guide its members and help to keep it strong. Government really just pays the bills, starts the wars, and causes us to do a lot of meaningless paperwork about "how we feel" about our workplace.