Thursday, February 09, 2006

A little lesson in prohibition

This vodka shortage is due to government incompetence, not prohibition per se, but the effect is the same and here's the lesson in it.
"Could Russia completely run out of vodka in 40 days?" was the apocalyptic front-page headline of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper yesterday, which published advice from a panel of politicians and celebrities on how to live without vodka and a cartoon of a man wringing a bottle of vodka as if it were wet laundry so as to extract every last drop. Although supermarket shelves are not yet denuded of the Russian national drink, manufacturers have warned that people are rapidly drinking what is left over from 2005, and that stocks will not last indefinitely. They have also warned that supplies of bootleg vodka, which has a record of poisoning, blinding and killing people, are increasing as black marketeers rush to fill the vacuum.
[Emphasis mine.] Supply will always rise to fill a demand, legal or illegal.


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